KING SUNSHINE with ADAM KHAN at the Reverb (651 Queen West), Saturday (October 21). $20 with CD, $12 without. www.kingsunshine.com. Rating: NNNNN
The local appetite for deep soulful house has shrunk drastically in the years since King Sunshine first burst onto the scene, so this may not be the best time to release Second Movement, their second full-length CD.
But the changing club scene might not be as much of an impediment as it seems on the surface. For one thing, King Sunshine never really succeeded in emulating house music as a live band, coming across more as a disco band with some spacey cosmic tendencies, a vibe whose appeal actually seems to be growing in circles outside of that house world.
They've also been playing many of the major Canadian festivals over the past few years, which has helped expose them to audiences who couldn't care less about the distinction between deep and bumpin' house.
"Often when we play in a new city for the first time, people come out and stand around for the first quarter of the set not knowing what to expect, and we start getting worried. Why aren't they dancing?" says drummer Roger Berman over coffee.
"Most of the time, though, they start bobbing their heads, and then suddenly the dance floor is full for the rest of the show."
"In other cities we get a mixture of people who are into dance music along with people who are more into bands," continues bassist Marc Shapiro. "We played at the Evolve festival in Halifax this summer, and there's a pretty high hippy contingent there, but it seems to work on that end as well as at a dance club."
Lest house heads fear that the club will be taken over by hacky-sack-kicking jam band fans, a brief recap of what's been going on since the last album might be in order.
King Sunshine's relationship with maverick Detroit producer Theo Parrish ended up in the release of a collaboration with them as the Rotating Assembly on his Sound Signature label. It was quickly snapped up by collectors, since Parrish tends to put out his avant-garde house in frustratingly small runs. Local house label Mixed Signals also released a 12-inch by the group not that long ago.
Even more exciting was winning the talent contest run by seminal NYC underground disco and house label West End Records last year, which means King Sunshine will soon have a 12-inch released on one of the most important labels of the post-disco era, remixed by Blaze, one of the biggest names in soulful dance music.