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Music in the Mountains: Funk You delivers the jam 

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Singer Datrian Johnson and guitarist Evan Miller brought some funk to Big Sky on July 27. PHOTO BY HUDSON WILLETT


A two-hour downpour soaked Big Sky on Thursday afternoon, chilling the late July air. But with the setting sun, lively funk brought some soulful heat to Len Hill Park.  

The 2023 Music in the Mountains summer series continued on Thursday night, beginning with some warm-up funk and jamming by Bozeman group MINT!, Thursday’s opener.  

However, the hardest-hitting funk was delivered by Atlanta-based headliner Funk You: from lead singer Datrian Johnson’s wide-ranging vocals and bass guitarist Mark Dykes’ constant smile and curly hair—he travels with a big fan to keep it blowing—to the harmony of trombone, trumpet and saxophone, the eight-man band brought Georgia’s warmth to the crisp Montana night.  

Mark Dykes, Funk You’s oft-smiling bass guitarist, makes a strong candidate for the Atlanta all-hair team. PHOTO BY HUDSON WILLETT

“This is the most fun we’ve had on tour, so let’s keep it goin’,” Johnson told the crowd after a 10-minute mash-up cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together” which included lyrics from Wutang Clan and The Notorious B.I.G.  

Brian Hurlbut, executive director of the Arts Council of Big Sky, told EBS that the band was thrilled to play in Big Sky.  

“They were totally stoked on the venue, and the crowd, and the way they played,” Hurlbut said. “For most of them, it was the first time they had been in Montana in general. They were just super excited to play, and [waiting] during that weather delay, one of the band members said that got them even more excited.” 

The band takes a bow at the end of the show. PHOTO BY BRIAN HURLBUT

Sound check was delayed about an hour by thunderstorms and pouring rain, so MINT! didn’t take the stage until around 7:30 p.m. An hour later, Funk You came out for the sunset and the octet stayed until about 10:30 p.m., wrapping up with a strong encore.  

Drummer and vocalist Will Clark spoke on the phone with EBS on Friday. He said Big Sky was the biggest show on their tour, and the band was really looking forward to it.  

“I mean, it was an amazing energy from the crowd,” Clark said. “We felt the love and had a nice warm welcome from everyone. It seemed like they needed some funk in their life, and everyone had a rowdy good time.” 

Rain added some stress, he said, but the band was relieved to see that fans still came out.  

“It was super packed,” he said.  

“Just a super fun show, and the crowd was awesome,” he added.

Energetic fans grooved beneath a Big Sky sunset. PHOTO BY BRIAN HURLBUT

When asked if Funk You would want to return to Big Sky, Clark responded: “Duh… Of course.” 

‘A testament to the Montana crowd’ 

Hurlbut also gave credit to the fans for sticking out the weather—he estimated a peak attendance between 1,500 and 2,000 on the chilly night.  

“I think it was one of those classic Big Sky shows where maybe some people were turned off by the weather, but the people who showed up [were] treated to one of the best shows of the summer,” Hurlbut said. “It’s just a testament to the Montana crowd… They show up, and they get up front, and they have a good time. These bands really respond to that.” 

“Every band we have is blown away by the level of engagement from the audience… I haven’t had one band that doesn’t want to come back after a Music in the Mountains show,” Hurlbut added. 

The summer series is now halfway complete, but Hurlbut said the next six weeks are going to bring more amazing shows to Len Hill Park.  

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