Sister Sparrow swoops into Iron Horse

By Chelsie Field

This weekend, Northampton will bear witness to a handful of very funky females.

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Brooklyn-based Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds as well as Amherst’s own Who’da Funk It will perform this Saturday at the Iron Horse Music Hall. Both bands feature a strong female vocal presence and an equally strong instrumental component, making for a very promising night of entertainment at the popular Noho venue.

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds will be headlining the night’s show. A fun mixture of soul, rock and dirty funk, this large collective packs a powerful punch into each of their smooth grooves and melodies. The sheer size of the band is an early indicator to the audience of how commanding their live music is. Backed by the strong and supportive force of eight musically talented men (The Dirty Birds component) is the 22-year-old singer Arleigh Kincheloe, better known as Sister Sparrow.

The band debuted with a self-titled release in fall 2010 and is currently on tour throughout the U.S.

Sister Sparrow leads her flock through tightly arranged and thoughtfully composed pieces that make sitting down at one of their concerts a difficult task. Her voice, which can be described as a fusion of Joss Stone’s sexy soul twang fused with Aretha Franklin’s knack for belting out lyrics with authority, is complemented perfectly with the powerful, funky punch that the musicians of the Dirty Birds bring.

Sister Sparrow is also responsible for the spectacular creation that is Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, loosely forming the band in her teenage years with her harmonica-playing Dirty Bird brother, Jackson Kincheloe, and gradually accumulating musicians over the years. The end result today provides listeners with a full and rich sound that is nothing short of soulfully funky.

Opening up the proceedings on this Saturday night is local funk-rock band Who’da Funk It. Formed in the summer of 2009 when all of the members happened to be attending the same music camp, Who’da Funk It is comprised of four very strong females by the names of Bess Hepner (guitar, lead singer), Emma Sevene (drums, vocals), Nina Kent (bass, vocals), and Deja Carr (keyboard, lead singer). The band is currently recording their first album, “Man Up,” at Northfire Studios in Amherst.

Beyond the rocking beat, Who’da Funk It is a band full of pleasant surprises. Judging by their awesome sound, it may be hard to believe that these young ladies are still in high school. And for being only four musicians strong, these young women sure can blast through the speakers with the best of them. Dancing and jiving is basically a required activity when giving these ladies a listen, especially when hearing them live. Their overall sound is refreshing, energetic and fun.

If you’re looking for a fresh take on how you spend your weekends, be sure to stop by the Iron Horse this Saturday night for an evening of excellent music – you might discover how hard it is to stand still when those funky beats are moving the room.

The show begins at 10 p.m., and tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 through the Iron Horse website (http://www.iheg.com) or $13 at the door.

Chelsie Field can be reached at [email protected]