Three years ago, bass player, DJ, and then record store owner Andy Noble and singer and tailor Black Wolf (born Jesse Davis) decided to put together an old-school soul band to play once a month in Milwaukee. Kings Go Forth, named after a Frank Sinatra movie, ended up with 10 members, all talented players or singers and day jobs, ranging from lawyer to contractor to high school math teacher to hotel valet. They eventually released some singles, one of which some BMX cyclists borrowed for a YouTube video. Yale Evelev, who manages and co-owns the David Byrne-founded Luaka Bop Records, has a son who’s into bikes and saw the video. Impressed with the music, Evelev signed the group; their debut effort, The Outsiders Are Back, with a cover drawn by noted D.C. outsider artist Mingering Mike, is being released today. The group will be at the U Street Music Hall this evening with longtime D.C. soul artist Sir Joe Quarterman and DJs Nitekrawler (Kevin Coombe) and Secret Chimp (Dori Hadar).
The Kings don’t go for synth-supported chitlin’ circuit soul or modern R&B: This is strictly throwback soul in the late-’60s and early-’70s style, with three vocalists and seven instrumentalists. That means gospel-rooted vocals that alternately wail or hit falsetto heights, Latin-rooted percussion, tinkling keyboards, and a horn section blaring in and out.
Quarterman is best known for his group Sir Joe Quarterman and Free Soul, whose first single, the funky, catchy, and topical “(I Got) So Much Trouble in My Mind,”entered the R&B Top 30 in 1973. (You may have heard it in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas).
Kings Go Forth and Sir Joe Quarterman perform tonight with MC Mingering Mike and DJs Nitekrawler and Secret Chimp. Doors open at 8 p.m. at the U Street Music Hall,1115 U St. NW. $12. (202) 588-1880.