By Maddy Cristall
VANCOUVER – Queer as Funk is an infectiously uplifting eight-piece cover band based out of Vancouver. The sincerely charismatic group of talented musicians are the farthest thing from pretentious. They are all genuinely close to one another, which is clearly reflected in their high octane performances. Queer as Funk cover a wide array of entertaining music from artists such as Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber, sometimes merging the two together. A fine example of their contagiously friendly music is that a friend of theirs spontaneously proposed to her now wife on stage, the band will also be playing their own wedding this summer.
Vancouver needs a band like Queer as Funk. They create inclusive safe spaces and know how to throw a party. Members Jocelyn Mcdougall and Connie Buna explain, “Although we identify as gay we both recognize the privilege of being caucasian.” Jocelyn adds, “And I represent as feminine, which grants me more privilege in everyday life.”
The band performs mostly at special events, namely Pride festivals including the Yukon and Fraser Valley. They donate a lot of their earnings to organizations around town including The Urban Native Youth Association and Black Lives Matter Vancouver. Buna shares, “This musical project isn’t for profit. We are honoured to give back to the community.” Their understanding of intersectionality and unconditional feminism is unfortunately not always prevalent in the queer community.
Queer as Funk however has great diversity in not only sexual orientation and ethnicity, but also in talent. Some members are classically trained like Luis “babyface” who Macdougall describes as a “virtuoso” on the keys and trombone. While Buna has started singing in her adult life and is one of the main vocalists of the band. Buna described her voice as an improving instrument. “I just love to sing,” she says.
Along with vocals, Queer as Funk has a notable horn section. Mcdougall’s wife, DJ Slade, is opening the show and all members are ecstatic with this. Band manager and trumpet player Alison Gorman explains that many of the tickets will also be discounted for those who are unable to afford it. “Pride should be affordable to people and we are not in this industry for the money,” she says. This is what Queer As Funk is all about — inclusion, joy and fun. And you have to be dead inside not to love that.