Down North, which hails from way out west in Seattle, is a self-described “soul punk” band, and that’s as good a label as any. The former Elkfest headliners combine retro R&B with straight-ahead rock, and their primary influences are appropriately all over the map — the Roots, James Brown, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Frontman Anthony Briscoe brings a fierce energy to the band’s live sets, guided by his reliable backing band, and you’ll be dancing yourself silly right along with him. Down North has been playing for more than a decade without producing much recorded material, but their new EP, No Retreat, Vol. 1, illustrates how they can be funky, sultry and raw all at once.
— Nathan Weinbender