Kerry Speckman interview with Flow Tribe
Music isn’t just something you experience with your ears. Whether it makes you tap your toes, shake your booty or bang your head, music is a full-body experience.
Flow Tribe, a six-piece band formed—reformed—and based in New Orleans, however, find their sound speaks to audiences on a skeletal level, referring to their music as in “backbone cracking.”
Lead vocalist and trumpet player K.C. O’Rorke explained: “We want you to come to the show and then afterwards feel better than you did before you came. Music for us is like a spiritual exercise, so it’s about getting in there, working out the kinks and feeling better.”
Explaining the band’s sound, on the other hand, is slightly more complicated. “It’s rhythm and blues, some Latin stuff, a little jazz, a little hip hop … dipped in funk,” O’Rorke said. “We really just try to do music that speaks to our hearts and hopefully that connects with the audience.”
Flow Tribe formed back in 2004 when they were still in high school but called it quits after graduation as they headed off to college. The following year the former bandmates found themselves back in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to help family and friends rebuild their homes—and their lives. In the process, the band re-formed and set out to do what they could to repair the city’s heart and soul through their music.
Over the next decade, the band grinded it out, gigging wherever and whenever, which eventually led to high-profile gigs like the world-renowned New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival where they shared the bill with Janelle Monae, Fitz and the Tantrums, Paul Oakenfold, Weezer, Interpol and Florence + the Machine. Oh, yeah, and there was that time they were featured on MTV’s Real World: New Orleans.
Their highly-anticipated appearance at this month’s Cajun Fest won’t be their first time in the River City, however. In addition to playing several club dates in the city, they headlined
PorchFest in Springfield in 2015, O’Rorke said. “We love Jacksonville!”
Flow Tribe is especially excited to be back on the road after the seemingly endless chaos and drama of 2020. “For us, the pandemic and everything just underlined how important it is to have that [human] connection and just connect with people and express yourself,” he said. “Our goal is to create the best music possible, reach as many people as possible and just have a good time.”
That good-time philosophy is reflected in their “high-octane” shows that not only showcase their impressive musical chops but also their colorful personalities and unique personal style (think plaid sports coats, Hawaiian shirts, leisure suits, leather jackets, denim vests and varying degrees of facial hair).
O’Rorke, who will most likely be sporting a jaunty chapeau, and bandmates John-Michael Early (harmonica, washboard, vocals, keyboard), Nick Solnick (drums), Chad Penot (bass, vocals), Bryan Santos (guitar, timbales), and Mario Palmisano (guitar) bring their unforgettable “spinal fusion” (please quote me on that) to the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Written by: Kerry Speckman