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Flow Tribe brings its funk to the ‘Boat

Julia Ben-Asher/For Steamboat Today
Flow Tribe will be performing Saturday afternoon at Steamboat Ski Area as part of the 2017 Bud Light Rocks the 'Boat concert series.
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If you go:

What: Bud Light Rocks the ‘Boat Free Concert: Flow Tribe

When: 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1

Where: Gondola Square

— The start of New Orleans-based, funk-rock-blues group Flow Tribe shares a storyline with countless other bands: a few high school seniors get together, play some local gigs, lose some members, gain some members, and then, come graduation, go their separate ways in the world.

If you go:

What: Bud Light Rocks the ‘Boat Free Concert: Flow Tribe

When: 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1

Where: Gondola Square

What most bands don’t encounter is a Category 3 hurricane crashing into its hometown, flooding the area and leaving thousands dead and more than a million displaced.

“New Orleans, whether or not it needed me, I felt a calling (to come back to New Orleans),” said Flow Tribe guitarist Mario Palmisano. “I really felt the need to give back.”

He returned to play music and enrolled in Loyola University New Orleans’ music program.

“It’s always been about putting smiles on people’s faces. As surface level as that may be, it validates what we do,” Palmisano said. “Our music, our energy changes their life for the better. There’s no payment better than that.”

The band also plays to benefit the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, a nonprofit that provides affordable health care to area musicians and tradition bearers.

Alongside Palmisano are K.C. O’Rorke on vocals and trumpet, Chad Penot on bass and vocals, Russel Olschner on drums, Bryan Santos on guitar and John-Michael Early on keyboard, vocals, washboard and harmonica.

“We love people to dance; we’re a dancing band,” Palmisano said. “The grooves are infectious, and we keep them rolling.”

In addition to touring mainly across the Southeastern U.S., the band has played at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest the past several years and will return to the festival at the end of April for the fifth year.

“Growing up here (in New Orleans) all my life, it’s Jazz Fest, Jazz Fest, Jazz Fest,” Palmisano said. “We definitely feel like we’re carrying on the spirit of the festival, and part of the tradition.”

As part of its Colorado Tour, Flow Tribe also plays in Vail, Winter Park and Denver before its next stops in Oklahoma, Texas and Mississippi.

Also in April, the band will release its next album, “BOSS,” produced by New Orleans-based Mannie Fresh, of Cash Money Records.

“He’s the guy behind all the early Lil Wayne and Hot Boyz beats — the New Orleans-style hip hop we grew up to,” Palmisano said.

“(The new album is) a different take for us,” he added. “We wrote the songs and then Mannie made them come to life — the man’s got the Midas touch.”

Saturday’s show begins at 3:30 p.m. at Gondola Square.


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