Night Moves

Cinese (left), Ryan Johnson and Berkley of Water Seed. 

The Grape in Midtown Ventura is better known as a jazz club, but it embraced the funk last week. The venue had a rare chance to showcase progressive R&B band Water Seed, who traveled all the way from New Orleans to do a series of gigs in California. And for those who came out on Thursday, Aug. 25, it was an unforgettable night.

Cinese and her flute opened the show.

The band opened with phenomenal flautist Cinese, who charmed the crowd with her musicianship and got the stage warmed up along with keyboardist J. Sharp, bass player Marius Tilton and drummer Lou Hill. The quartet was soon joined by lead singers Ryan Johnson and Berkley, whose dynamic vocals and dance moves brought the audience to its feet — helped in no small part by the singers coming down onto the dance floor to provide some inspiration.

This was old-school funk in the mold of Earth, Wind and Fire or Parliament, with an all-inclusive, forward-looking approach and an infectious vibe that had the room packed and in a state of exhiliration. Water Seed proved to be a refreshing experience for an audience ready to “get wild, get loose, be free.”