Give It Up

The Charities draw influences from funk, soul, Motown, jazz, disco, R&B, jam bands and rock ‘n’ roll.

Brock Van Pelt, lead singer of soul-funk band The Charities, likens the feeling of performing onstage to one of being home alone, singing and dancing to good music – in his case, a classic Motown record.

“The musicians are having fun doing what they are doing,” Van Pelt says. “And when the crowd feels that, they can let loose too.”

For all six bandmates of The Charities, home is a 150-acre ranch off a dusty road 30 minutes north of downtown San Luis Obispo.

“It’s like a playground,” says keyboardist Joe Lopilato. “Some of our music comes from spur of the moment jams.”

The Charities originated in Hermosa Beach and were inspired by what Van Pelt describes as the “soulful California vibe.” At the time, Van Pelt was listening to a lot of Motownand thought there should be a band playing that type of music. So he gathered some friends and after a year of ups and downs, The Charities became that band.

Lopilato describes the band’s momentum jokingly as an “Avalanche of Jell-o.”

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In other words, he says, “You could see it coming, but it was moving really slow.”

Still, since moving to the ranch, The Charities have released Alma, an EP produced partially on an analog soundboard built by guitarist Alec Kersenboom, sold out L.A.’s Troubadour and are set to headline a major concert in Baja California.

And while it might be easy enough to dance to The Charities’ synthesis of the “soulful California vibe,” add Van Pelt’s energetic repetition of lyricsand who knows? You may find yourself letting loose as if you were home alone, too.

THE CHARITIES 8pm Friday, Sept. 20. East Village Coffee Lounge, 498 Washington St., Monterey. $10 suggested. 373-5601. 3pm Saturday, Sept. 21. Peace Day Gathering, Laguna Grande Park, Seaside. Free. dwarcken@comcast.com

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