Sound Bites: After Funk, Pocket Vinyl, and more

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Toronto quartet After Funk

Thursday, April 19
After Funk
Gottrocks
200 Eisenhower Drive
9:30 p.m.
$5

After Funk is a pretty apt name for this Toronto quartet, because it takes danceable, funky grooves and moves them forward musically, working in heavy rock, extended, experimental jams, and nods to prog-rock and reggae, as well. The band formed in 2011 at the University of Western Ontario, and drummer Jaime Rosenberg says it came by its musical eclecticism honestly. “I think it just comes from all of us having such diverse influences,” he says. “Yanick [Allwood], our singer and keyboard player, he does most of the writing, and he comes from a gospel and classical background. The mix of that makes some interesting compositions. I come from more of a funk and rock and hip-hop background, [guitarist] Phil Tessis comes from jazz and fusion, and [bassist] Justin Bontje was a metal guy at one point.” Ultimately, though, there’s one place that all of the band’s musical influences converge. “It’s a big melting pot, but everyone likes feel-good, funky, groovy stuff,” Rosenberg says. “That’s kind of the common denominator.” –Vincent Harris

Sunday, April 15
Pocket Vinyl
Radio Room
110 Poinsett Highway
8 p.m.
$7

The only problem with singer/pianist Eric Stevenson’s description of his duo, Pocket Vinyl, is that he sells himself short considerably. “It’s a duo of me kind of slamming the piano and screaming,” Stevenson says with a laugh, “and Elizabeth [Jancewicz] creating a masterpiece painting onstage, which we then auction off at the end of the show.” In truth, Stevenson does far more than slam the piano and scream; he’s got a knack for creating crisp, melodic pop songs with an emphasis on nakedly confessional lyrics, which he delivers onstage while Jancewicz paints next to him. “Every painting is different, and I have no idea what she’s going to paint before the show,” he says. “So each show is unique.” The group formed in 2010 after Stevenson decided to do a solo tour, but things got complicated. “I was going to just grab the keyboard and go on the road,” he says, “but around that same time, Elizabeth and I started dating, so we figured, why doesn’t she just come and paint onstage? We made money on our first tour, which doesn’t usually happen, and we thought, ‘Well, this kind of works!'” –Vincent Harris

Friday, April 13
Billy Currington w/ Drake White & The Big Fire
Peace Center, 300 S. Main St.
7:30 p.m.
$45-$65

It’s easy to think of the modern country singer as a carefully constructed product with just enough grit and twang to pass muster, and a lot of ready-made pop songs written by the Nashville assembly line. But Billy Currington breaks that mold in several respects. Sure, he’s got the requisite red-hot track record with singles; he’s hit the top of the country charts 11 times, starting with “Must Be Doing Something Right” in 2005 and continuing through “People Are Crazy,” “Hey Girl,” and “We Are Tonight.” But he’s also maintained his success for more than a decade, co-written a chunk of his own catalog, and resisted the urge to polish up his Georgia twang in a quest for crossover appeal. He’s also better at selling full albums than the average Nashville confection, moving nearly 10 million records in the past 10 years. In fact, his most recent album, “Summer Forever,” stayed on the Billboard charts for more than a year, spawning three No. 1 singles. –Vincent Harris 

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