Carson City is getting some local funk when Tha Exchange takes the stage as part of the Brewery Art Center’s Levitt AMP Concert Series on Saturday. Band founder Brandon Dolph said he’s ready to bring the party, and he’s excited for his first chance to play in a town that will help expand their homebase beyond Reno and Tahoe.
“I’m super excited. It’s definitely an honor to be put on as a headline spot as a local act,” Dolph said. “It’s a compliment and a total honor.”
He’s heard about the Carson City crowd, and he said the band will be happy to get in front of a big crowd who are there to enjoy and really want to experience the music.
The eight-piece band from Reno is known for its “funk-hop” by focusing on funk and soul, but also it tends to blur the lines on other genres as well, Dolph said. He said the bandmembers are all really good players who can play pretty much any style of music and the live show is full of energy. He said it allows them to explore new ideas and execute them with a really high performance. The band has a really good time playing together and the feedback from the fans has been positive.
“I think that translates pretty well on stage,” he said. “It definitely gets the audience really engrossed in it.”
‘NORTHERN NEVADA SUPERGROUP’
Tahoe Onstage Magazine dubbed Tha Exchange as “Northern Nevada’s Supergroup.” Perhaps that’s because Dolph collected musicians for the group that have extensive resumes and are well known in the area.
Cliff Porter is on drums and does some vocals. He is known for his band Jelly Bread, and he’ll also be opening the show on Saturday as part of Dave and Cliff.
“We all know how special Cliff is,” Dolph said.
He said getting the right bass player is crucial, so he enlisted Anthony Leombruno.
“I really saw that the Cliff and Tony Show will be very special,” Dolph said. “When they agreed to work together on it with me, I was pretty darn excited.”
John Britto is on rhythym guitar. Dolph grew up with Britto.
“He is one of the meanest rhythym guitar players I know,” Dolph said. “His job is to just really hold down that funk — which he does at a very elevated level.”
Vincenzo Pelligrino is the keyboard player.
There’s two saxophone players and they come with two different styles, Dolph said.
Tim Gay, originally from Detroit, plays alto sax. Dolph said he can jump back and forth between lead and then switch back to harmony, and he also helps with singing backup.
Then the tenor saxophone player Kaleb Berg comes from Seattle.
“He brings that West Coast Seattle sound to the saxophone section,” Dolph said. “Which is really cool to blend the Detroit alto-tone with Seattle tenor-sound.”
On baritone saxophone is Kevin Thomas, who played previously with Mojo Green.
“He’s just an absolute animal and his dynamic control and articulation just adds another dimension to the music that is so crucial,” Dolph said.
The band is also starting to add Davis Corl on trombone, and Dolph said there may be some guest appearances from him.
Dolph said many of the members have been playing together longer than the band has existed, so they all have a good relationship. He and the other horns players were often recruited for Jelly Bread shows, and they were known as the Sticky Horns.
“Getting all three of us together in Tha Exchange, there’s so much synergy and chemistry between the horn players and different players in the band,” Dolph said. “To bring all these elements together is just really exciting.”
Dolph was in previous projects playing the trumpet, and one project he started was called Funk Exchange. Through that project Dolph already had a record deal with Color Red Records.
“We got a contract before we even released our first record,” Dolph said. “We struck gold there.”
Then the pandemic came and messed everything up, but once things got going again Dolph put together the band’s new lineup, called it Tha Exchange, and it allowed him to focus more on songwriting and being the front man for the band. He wanted to be the front man because he wrote the album.
“This album was near and dear to my heart, and I wanted to sing it,” Dolph said. “So I had to learn to be a front man.”
He enlisted friend Lyle Divinsky as a vocal coach to help dial in the vocals and harmony parts. Divinsky helped Dolph develop skills that he had already been working on.
“He helped me get over that hurdle and create the product that we have today,” Dolph said.
Tha Exchange has been releasing some singles, and they have a music video release planned for July 28. This is all leading up to a big album release on Oct. 27. They have the party booked at Crystal Bay Casino with friends The Polyrhytmics come to help support the show.
Among some of the early accomplishments for the band is getting the chance to open for Parliament Funkadelic featuring George Clinton, which takes place July 27 at The Glow Plaza Festival Grounds in Reno. Dolph said they had the same gig last year, and it was an honor to get called back to open once again this year.
“It was good to know we did such a good job that we got the call back and got to do it again,” he said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Tha Exchange with opening act Dave & Cliff (of Jelly Bread) at Brewery Art Center’s Levitt AMP Concert Series
WHERE: 449 W. King St. at the Brewery Arts Center
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, July 15
MORE INFO: breweryarts.org; http://www.funkexchange.com