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Post-Traumatic Funk's flashback: Group looks to 'Soul Train' for next Fargo show

Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome will play a tribute to "Soul Train" at Fargo's Sanctuary Events Center on Saturday, May 26, 2018. Special to The Forum1 / 2
Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome includes (from left) Jesse Braunagel, trumpet; Russ Peterson, alto sax; Matt Patnode, tenor sax; Tom Strait, trumpet; Josh Argall, baritone sax; Doug Neill, bass; and Nat Dickey, trombone. Special to The Forum2 / 2

FARGO — Although its members were raised on radio, Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome is tuning out the AM/FM frequencies and turning to a long-running TV show for inspiration.

After giving fans a "Funky Little Christmas" and "Funky Valentine," the group is paying tribute to the 1970s music show, "Soul Train," when it takes the stage Saturday, May 26, at Fargo's Sanctuary Events Center.

The group has started an annual tradition of producing a tribute show. Last year's muse was Chicago.

"We were talking about ideas and 'Soul Train' came up, and that's kind of the best of everything we do," says saxophonist and band leader Russ Peterson.

While the horn-based group's shows often range from Aerosmith to Aretha Franklin, Saturday's show will hone in on classic 1970s R&B, soul and funk bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, War, Sly and the Family Stone, The Ohio Players and Commodores, among others.

Acts like these provided the soundtrack to "Soul Train," which grew in popularity as much for the music as the dancing it inspired. The show started in Chicago in the early '70s, but executives realized it had a national audience. Soon, production moved to Los Angeles and the show became syndicated nationally.

Offering a national platform for not only the grooves but also the moves it inspired, the show was referred to as a "Black American Bandstand."

Peterson remembers watching the show while growing up in Cleveland.

"I loved the dancing. I was into all of that funky, soul music, even when I was 8 years old," he recalled.

While he's a fan of the dancing, he said the band doesn't have much for moves, so they will employ their own "Soul Train"-style dancers for Saturday's show.

The band is encouraging concertgoers to wear '70s costumes for a chance to win drinks, and there will be a dance-off for other prizes.

While bands like Earth, Wind & Fire and Sly and the Family Stone have made it into previous PTFS setlists, groups like War and Ohio Players are newer additions.

"That's what's cool about these tribute shows, we have to work up a whole bunch of new music," Peterson said.

The work paid off. The group just won "Best Cover Band" for the fifth year in a row in the High Plains Reader readers' poll.

"We are so honored to be named High Plains Reader's Best Cover Band!" the group posted on its Facebook page. "Unfortunately, we could not attend the awards ceremony this year because we were busy rehearsing our show this coming Saturday at Sanctuary Events Center, 'Soul Train.'"

If you go

What: Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 26

Where: Sanctuary Events Center, 670 Fourth Ave. N., Fargo

Info: Tickets are $20 or $120 for balcony table of four; or 866-300-8300