This past summer Universal Studios launched a vainglorious attempt to franchise their old lineup of classic movie monsters. Starting with the Tom Cruise vehicle The Mummy, it was an attempt to create an interlocking contemporary cinematic world where the Frankenstein monster, the Gill Man, Dracula, a Wolfman, Dr. Jekyll, and a mummy would cross paths through multiple movies.
Of course, the first outing bombed horribly. Audiences didn’t know what to make of the most recent mummy flick: Was it a horror movie? A Tom Cruise action movie? Both? Unfortunately, it was neither. Just a big mess, trying to hit all the right notes to appease any and all summer moviegoers, the film ended up appealing to no one in particular.
The suits at Universal could learn a thing or two from the Nashville-based funk band Here Come The Mummies. Just in time for Halloween, this outfit rolled into Cleveland’s House of Blues Friday night to entertain the crowd in just about every way in which a crowd could be thrilled.
Don’t get too, uh, wrapped up with their gimmick. I fear that many people might dismiss this band as a novelty act. Here are eight musicians hidden behind monster makeup; reminiscent of both the 1970s animated Groovy Ghoulies and Oogie Boogie from A Nightmare Before Christmas, they may look like a Halloween version of TSO, coming out once a year to take advantage of a specific “holiday” season, but these musicians are a tightly-knit funk band, laying down a well-defined, syncopated groove.
Imagine Parliament-Funkadelic in fright makeup and you’d have a pretty apt comparison.
Marching in from the back of the venue, reminiscent of a New Orleans funeral dirge, the outfit took to the stage and unleashed the funk. Measuring themselves in carefully choreographed drumline-style maneuvers, the band laid down a serious groove for a little less than two hours. The crowd, while not at capacity, really ate up the offerings.
Featuring a prodigious horn section, two vocalists, and many members switching out their instruments for another, these eight masked men sounded more like a gang of twenty. Their wall of sound was anchored by a thumping bass and a pulsating horn trio.
Rumor has it that the band members are all very well known session musicians (and a few Grammy winners as well) tied to contracts elsewhere, prohibiting them from performing under their given names. Therefore “Mummy Cass” and “Spazzy Mummy” are two of their nom de guerre, allowing them to perform with a bit of mystery as well.
This gig was one of the most fun shows I’ve attended in quite awhile. Not only did these guys bring some solid musicianship with them, their sense of style was impeccable. After all, how many acts do you know that can pull off what Tom Cruise couldn’t?