Kick out the jams

Roller derby and funk music collide at Roller Soul


Beautiful women capable of throwing NHL-quality bodychecks and high energy funk music might not always go hand in hand but on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Pyramid Cabaret, neither will be in short supply.

Roller Soul is an adrenaline-pumping dance party hosted by The Winnipeg Roller Derby League. The night will feature tracks spun by dance floor favourites King Cabernet and Mod Marty, but attendees should really stretch out and prepare themselves for The Family Planners, Winnipeg’s leading purveyors of bad-ass funk.

The Family Planners have been getting crowds on their feet and sweating for a little over two years now. Things can get a little hot and cramped on stage when a band features two guitars, bass, drums, a keyboard and a saxophone (not to mention microphones, amps and oh yeah, musicians) but that doesn’t stop these gents.

DJ King Cabernet, Roller Soul’s organizer, was tasked with the not-so-easy feat of booking the six-headed band – made up of Tanner Gusdal, Dan Bertnick, Matt Filopolous, Ricky deMoissac, Tony Pizzi and Casimir Gruwel – each with differing schedules to plan around, but appears to have gotten lucky in doing so.

“[Scheduling] can be a pain,” Gusdal, vocalist for The Family Planners, says. “You’ve got some guys working 9 to 5, some working evenings, some going to school, some working out of town. Throw in social lives and it takes at least a week’s notice and plenty of messaging to schedule anything. Having at least one unemployed guy helps. Everybody likes those guys.”

If you’re new to The Family Planners, two things are at their live shows: Good music and quality entertainment.

In fact, audience members may find themselves more involved with the show than anticipated.

“We like making people dance (and) bringing people onstage. You know, crowd participation,” Gusdal says. “We like having fun and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

A typical Family Planners set contains a tasty blend of original material as well as rearrangements of songs from various genres, all played with audience enjoyment as the top priority.

And what sounds more enjoyable than dancing to funk music while rubbing shoulders with gorgeous roller derby girls?

Published in Volume 68, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 25, 2013)

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