POP MUSIC REVIEW : Gandhis' Pop Stays in Party Groove

Boxing Gandhis play cross-cultural pop that mixes Little Feat eclecticism with Sly Stone-style funk. At the Troubadour on Friday, that blend made for a good-time party groove without offering much in the way of innovation.

This band of L.A. studio players can funk it up with the best of them. Singer-percussionist Brie Darling was central to many of the show's best moments, cutting loose on "Free" (from the band's self-titled debut) with one explosive wail after another. Too bad her vocal turns on Friday were so few.

The eight-member band had a bouncy, charming stage presence, sometimes erupting into full party rock with blasts of saxophone and rumbling percussion. Vocalist Ernie Perez's vaguely hip-hop attitude and energy got the crowd to sing along to his R&B; scatting.

Lyrically, the Gandhis offered positive social messages that recall the best of '70s-era funk--but the pleasant, upbeat sounds that surrounded them were ultimately less challenging than the blueprint created by Stone, Stevie Wonder and George Clinton two decades ago.

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