PHOTO/THE APOLLO SUNS: The Winnipeg-based group is about to kick off its Relationship of Force Tour.

Nuclear funk has a date with psychedelic jazz at the Elbow Room in Sparks.

The Reno funk band Phat Mark  will be the opening act April 14 for the internationally-known Apollo Suns, as the Canadian group’s long-postponed U.S. tour gets underway.

For those who crave live music, the lifting of pandemic restrictions could not have come too soon.

“The effect that the pandemic had on local music was devastating,” said Casey Smith, a trumpet player and vocalist for Phat Mark. “In a community that thrived on going out and watching and performing live music, taking away that opportunity for the better part of a year and a half decimated the music scene.”

Smith said the music began to return once people were allowed to gather while mask mandates were still in force. That restriction was lifted last month, and “the music scene began to come back fairly quickly. Since then, it has slowly been ramping up to now, as music happens frequently everywhere in town,” Smith said.

The Apollo Suns and Phat Mark show will be at the Elbow Room Bar, 2002 Victorian Ave. in Sparks,  Thursday, April 14 at 8:30 p.m. $10 cover charge at the door.

Fusing the elements of funk, jazz, and Hip Hop, Phat Mark branded itself as “nuclear funk.” The band boasts a killer three-man rhythm section, paired with a three- man horn section. They play originals, covers and impromptu jams. A clip from their gig at The Bluebird in Reno can be viewed online. The song is “Come a Long Way.”

PHOTO/PHAT MARK: Phat Mark opening for the Funk Exchange, at the Bluebird Feb. 26.

Phat Mark’s sounds are a natural fit with the Apollo Suns’ music, Smith said.

The Apollo Suns, who hail from Winnipeg, Canada, are kicking off their Relationship of Force Tour. The group, Smith said, is “an absolutely electrifying psychedelic jazz-rock band.”  Videos of some of their performances also are available on YouTube. “With fast horn melodies and ripping guitar solos, this band brings a brand of energetic grooves and themes that bring a heavy and dirty funk influence into their music,” Smith said.

So what the funk is funk anyhow?

“Funk is very heavy on syncopated rhythms and bass lines, with all instruments contributing to the overall groove of the music,” Smith explained. “Funk has many sub genres, and as shown today, it is often a big influence on many different music trends.”

The Elbow Room Bar, 2002 Victorian Avenue in Sparks, is a self-described “classic neighborhood dive bar.” The venue offers live music, gaming, and hosts standup comedy/open mic nights.

“An instrumental band, Apollo Suns is comprised of nine members that cultivate a high energy atmosphere and a dance inducing good time. Their jazzy psychedelic rock tunes are catchy and accessible while making every live experience a memorable one.” – Summerland Reviews.

“We’ll get things started for the Apollo Suns by providing some nuclear funk,” Smith said. “We’ve been waiting since before COVID, and now years later the show is booked. Save the date and bring your friends for what is sure to be a great night of amazing music!”

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