Natasha’s Bar & Grill welcomed back Emporia State students with a musical performance by both Beans and Cornbread and The Slack Theory Friday night.
“We are really excited to play these back to school shows,” said Slack Theory guitarist Riley Day.
Colin Jones, Slack Theory bassist, said playing with Beans and Cornbread was an “awesome experience.”
Beans and Cornbread consists of trumpet players Eric Padilla and Michael Hurla; trombone players Robert Kilpatrick and Lance Quilling; keyboardist and saxophone player Aaron Graversen; guitarist Ross Williams; bassist Alan Eisman and drummer Lucas Whippo. Padilla, Kilpatrick and Graversen also provide vocals, and Quilling the “occasional percussion.” This was the octet’s first performance in Emporia.
Beans and Cornbread played a wide range of covers, such as Bill Withers’ “Use Me,” 2Pac’s “California Love” and “Jungle Love” by Morris Day and The Time, which featured Slack Theory front man PJ Stephenson on saxophone.
Eight Washburn students, seven of which were music majors, formed the original lineup of Beans and Cornbread in Topeka in 2003. Padilla said the band’s influences include “Stevie Wonder, Rx Bandits and Youngblood Brass Band.”
Quilling said the band plays mainly covers and a few originals that range from R&B and funk to reggae and hip-hop.
“We released some originals on our Reverb Nation page,” Graverson said. “Our focus is on live performances, but we plan on recording more at some point.”
The octet performed one of their originals, a smooth, yet heavy dance-funk number titled “Duty to the Booty,” which is featured on their Reverb Nation page.
“We mainly play corporate events and weddings,” Kilpatrick said. “We like to play bar shows to keep us young and full of free food and beer.”
Padilla said the band “loves the way Emporia supports music,” and they enjoyed the chance to play.
Kilpatrick said that the band would welcome the opportunity to start playing shows at universities.
After Beans and Cornbread’s energetic one-hour set, The Slack Theory opened their set with a cover of The-Dream’s “Walkin’ on the Moon” and their original song “Hard Groove.” The brass players from Beans and Cornbread joined them onstage as they performed “funkified” versions of a wide range of songs such as The Black Keys’ “Sinister Kid,” Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe,” Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” and “Fascination” by Alphabeat, which Stephenson said the band had learned only four days before the show.
Slack Theory wrapped up Friday night’s show with the debut of a new jazz-funk song titled “Q,” followed by performances of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and “Can’t Back Down” by Bad Rabbits.