Not many bands can say that they can’t be classified under a genre, but Captain Stingray’s Groove Machine are an exception.
The Stoke-on-Trent band themselves even sit before me attempting to categorise their unique sound.
What more could we expect from a seven-piece consisting of a bass, bongo and saxophone player?
Add this blend of Afro-Latin American funk to the conventional lead guitar, vocals and drums. You have the Groove Machine.
If it wasn’t for seeing them play in front of me, I’d of thought there was three separate bands performing.
Four of the seven members were available for interview after their gig at Staffordshire University’s Verve venue. This was enough to capture the band’s sheer diversity.
Lead singer, Ash Wall, said: “I suppose it’s dance music at heart, drawing inspiration from all over the world.”
For a band that have been playing for over two years, not having an identified sound should seem ludicrous, but for Captain Stingray, that’s how their music happens.
It’s also hard to believe a band with such individual and collective talent are still playing free-entry gigs.
Drummer Danny Shaw gives a sound synopsis of the group: “I think it works really well because we each specialise in a genre.”
The band (at least those who were there) look expectantly at him.
As relaxed and improvised as the music, Shaw adds: “Joe [bass]is the boss of funk, you know what I mean? I’m like that reggae vibe, and Gai’s [percussion]got his style.
“When you can polish off your own style, put it together and it works!”
The Groove Machine put it together back in April this year, with the release of their first album, ‘Live At The Villas’.
For a band who five of its seven members work full-time jobs alongside writing and producing music, having an album, plus another full album on its way, is some good going.
Prior to this gig, the Groove Machine had played Alsager Music Festival 2017’s main stage, as well as an album launch gig at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke, back in April.
The contrast between their first live gig at Hanley’s The Exchange to their latest here at Staffordshire University is visible in the expressions of relief I’m greeted with.
Talking about the transition, Wall adds: “It’s just nice not to have to set up your own kit for once, so it’s great when we get approached like we did by [live music broadcaster]Fat Pigeon.”
Despite being featured between two entirely different artists, and only playing three songs, the Groove Machine delivered a short, yet sweet, sample of their unorthodox roots.
Stoke’s NORSACA (North Staffordshire African Caribbean Association) is Captain Stingray’s Groove Machine’s next port of call, as they are due to celebrate their second birthday as a group.
Captain Stingray will be steering the “Birthday Voyage” into shores of their latest funk on 28th February next year, another step forwards in the world music project for the seven-piece.
The latest news and information on the band can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CaptainStingraysGrooveMachine/