Tall Cherry Tree Popped: Five Alarm Funk Debut

Last week I spoke with Tayo Branston, the drummer and a vocalist from the seasoned and electrifying musical outfit Five Alarm Funk. We had a chance to talk briefly about the kick-off to their 5th cross-country tour happening at Tall Tree this weekend, and about how the nine-man team will keep up their act through the over 20 concert dates they have confirmed this summer.

The west coast natives are known for making crowds jump and dance till their clothes come off. We couldn’t imagine a better fit for Tall Tree this year considering what promises to be an epic heatwave. I asked Tayo if he had any wisdom for any first-timers, Tayo instantly replied: “Come prepared to dance.”

I wanted to know how Tayo and the group get around during their tour, thinking a band their size must have a challenging time coordinating such an epic annual road trip. He told me that this weekend they will be flying straight from Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, but normally would have the comfort of their (former airport) shuttle bus, which has been converted into the band’s mobile lazy-boy living room.


We all know how physically and mentally draining a wild weekend at Tall Tree can be, or any music festival for that matter. I wanted to know how Tayo and Five Alarm keep up with their demanding schedule every summer, touring the country in under two months. Tayo says that maintaining energy is a challenge but knowing when to give it and when to step back counts big time. Tayo also told me that the band tours with a health-conscious chef, who prepares meals for nine well-deserving men every step of the way.

To add to the excitement Five Alarm will be among friends at Tall Tree, The Boom Booms, The Funk Hunters and Delhi 2 Dublin are a few of the artists performing this weekend that Five Alarm break bread with. “It’s always great to be around your friends in that kind of environment and it should do nothing but add to the energy.” I asked Tayo if there we should be expecting any on stage group jam or collaboration, “I’m just excited to get there and be a part of community, we have nothing planned but anything is possible.”

Tayo told me that Five Alarm has neither played nor attended the festival, but are looking forward to having their Tall-cherry-Tree popped.

Five Alarm Funk perform Sunday on the Main Stage, so stay sharp and well hydrated, cause we don’t rest on Sundays at Tall Tree, we dance and POP CHERRIES. Thanks Tayo! See you on the mountain.

Words by Contributing Writer: Jimmy Leitch.