Two years ago, Townsend guitarist Jason Brown's life was changed.
Brown was seized by funk-playing extraterrestrials appropriately named Universal Funk Order (U.F.O.), bent on ruling the planet by transmitting infectious grooves across the globe, beginning with the Small Wonder.
Brown, now accustomed to life aboard a flying saucer, will beam down with his Newark-based U.F.O. brethren to Deer Park Tavern in Newark Thursday night.
"There's always a great atmosphere at Deer Park Tavern – with all the college kids there," beamed Brown, 24. "It's my favorite place to play on Main Street."
U.F.O., which also features Middletown grad Reid Kelley (frontman), is a horn band known to combine funk, R&B, hip-hop and rock elements into vibrant tunes that provoke feet to pounce the dance floor. The crew plays a nice mix of originals and old-school covers.
U.F.O.'s master plan for taking over Deer Park Tavern will likely include irresistible covers of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie," Sly & the Family Stone's "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" and a nifty mash-up of Tequila's "The Champs" with The Doors' "Break on Through," Brown said.
As for originals, the band has a few in its catalog, including the riff-driven "Tax Farm," a social commentary on the American people's unavoidable fate of paying taxes.
Then there's U.F.O.'s anthem, "Funky Family," featuring big horn stabs, and these gleeful lines from its catchy chorus: "You and me, we are the funky family," Brown said.
The show will feature guests Cailin Michael (backup singer), of Middletown, and Corey Hawkins (emcee), of Newark. The event will also mark bassist/beatboxer David Swanson's farewell concert. Throughout sets, Swanson, also known as the "Imperial Stormlooper," will beatbox with a looping machine, while Hawkins rhymes over his beats.
"This is cooler, I think, than us having to take a break [throughout the show]," Brown said of the Imperial Stormlooper's beatboxing. "We'll give him a little time in between our sets to let him do his thing, and give him a night to remember."
Page 2 of 2 - Funky new demo
In the coming months, U.F.O. has plans to drop a new three-song demo. The project will feature "Someone New," "Valley" and "Tax Farm," Brown said.
Brown described "Someone New" as having a groove reminiscent of a Doobie Brothers tune, and the lyrics discuss "moving on from a woman you thought you needed, but you come to realize you don't."
He added "Valley" is a smooth and funky tune in the vein of Steely Dan, with lyrics focusing on the way "things are evolving."
IF YOU GO
WHAT U.F.O. in concert
WHEN 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7
WHERE Deer Park Tavern, 108 W. Main St., Newark
INFO deerparktavern.com or 894-1200