"Sex Pistols and Parliament were my two favorite bands when I was young." – Mike Muir
That statement sets the tone for Funk It Up & Punk It Up: Live in France ‘95, a release that captures one show in Lyon, France on a tour where frontman Mike Muir pulled double duty with his band Infectious Grooves and also opened each show with his own set as Cyco Mike.
The title of this release could not more accurately describe the sound, a fusion that fans of Muir’s work in the mid-'90s era of Suicidal Tendencies know well. Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, who joined Suicidal Tendencies in 1989, was also partially responsible for the formation of Infectious Grooves, which provided an outlet for slightly more bass-heavy and funk-oriented sounds than the (already funky) thrash of Suicidal Tendencies at the time.
The first disc of the two-disc set is eight songs plus a concert introduction of Cyco Miko playing selections from his debut solo album Lost My Brain! (Once Again). Although speckled with moments of low-end mastery like on “Ain't Gonna Get Me,” Cyco Mike’s set (like Lost My Brain!) is much more deeply rooted in a hardcore punk sound than any other style. Fan favorites like “F.U.B.A.R.” and “I Love Destruction” round out a set that sounds like it would be tiring, and that’s only round one.
Along with Trujillo, Infectious Grooves was made up of a number of punk heavy-hitters including Dave Nassie (No Use for a Name), Dean Pleasants (Suicidal Tendencies) and Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion) who was only 18 years old when this was recorded. After a short intro skit from frequent fictional Infectious Grooves contributor Sarsippius, the band launches into the funky instrumental head-bobber “Popcorn,” which bleeds into the heavy rock of “These Freaks Are Here to Party.” Trujillo gets ridiculous with his basslines on “Punk it Up” and its immediate successor “Funk’n with My Head.” The band somehow combines a pummeling double-bass rhythm, slap bass lead and ska upstrokes on the genre-hopping “Monster Skank,” one of the set’s most enjoyable tunes. The band’s eponymous anthem ends the concert to the sounds of screaming fans after what could only have been an exhausting performance for Muir and company.
While Funk it Up & Punk it Up is certainly a must-have for fans of Muir or either of his bands, anyone with an ear for good music and a cyco spirit will dig the impressive live tunes on this release.