.The Inciters at The Ritz

Northern Soul Act Returns to The Ritz

The 11 members of The Inciters dressed in matching suits and dresses saunter to their microphones on stage and cut through the silence with an eruption of horns, tambourines and a grooving rhythm section. The lead singer’s voice sails over the melody as the backup singers break out in a choreographed number.

No, this isn’t the 1960s. It’s The Inciters, this region’s premier Northern Soul act. The synchronized and stylish ten (sometimes 11) piece band returns to The Ritz to open for touring acts The Tailspins and The Surfrajettes. 

The Inciters are fresh on the heels of releasing their latest full-length, Bring Back The Weekend, last October. 

“We’re definitely a live band and we wanted to capture that energy,” explains founding member and trumpeter, Rick Kendrick. “And everybody that’s listened to it has said we succeeded.” 

Kendrick and crew absolutely nailed their live act on this album, giving it a much fuller sound than previous recordings. The album defies anyone listening not to dance, wiggle their booty in their seat or—at the very least—tap a foot along to the rhythm. 

Tracks like “Waiting By the Phone,” “If I Didn’t” and the title track sound as if the listener is the 12th member in the room. It all kicks off with the album’s title track, which starts softly but grows to a crescendo, giving the audience a taste of what’s to come in the following half hour. 

When asked to name his favorite song on the album, drummer Matty Macabre perks up.

“Well, I want to say the one that I wrote,” he laughs. “But I’d have to say my favorites to play are ‘We Gave It A Good Run’ and ‘Boot N Soul’ because the first is upbeat and makes you want to dance. ‘Boot N Soul’ can have the same effect or start a mosh pit.” 

Originally founded in 1995, The Inciters of 28 years ago was a completely different band than today, literally. While they did play Northern Soul—a style of music and culture that grew out of 1970’s England heavily influenced by lesser known artists that didn’t get the same airplay as those on Motown or Stax records—Kendrick is the only remaining original member. That version broke up after a decade, but in 2009 Kendrick decided to bring the group out of retirement. 

Since their return The Inciters have only put out one album until now, 2013’s Soul Clap. But not for a lack of trying. “We were going to [record] but then Covid happened,” he says. “So that threw it back a couple years but we decided ‘No more, we’re going to record.’” 

The latest album also marks their first on Pirates Press Records-–the much hailed punk label based out of Emeryville. Kendrick’s known the label’s owner, Eric “Skippy” Mueller, for years and unsuccessfully tried to get the label to sign the band. At that time Pirates Press was strictly a punk label, but for the last four years they’ve expanded their galley to include the soul and reggae sounds of The Aggrolites and rocksteady ska acts like The Slackers.

When The Inciters finished Bring Back The Weekend, Kendrick knew the time had come and gave a copy to a friend to give to Mueller. “And the next day I heard back and [Mueller] said, ‘You did it! I’ll take it,’” he laughs.

Their upcoming gig at The Ritz will be the second time performing with their new singer, Katrina Lynn. “She’s really stepped up and done a great job so far,” exclaims Macabre, adding the band wasn’t surprised as they already knew she would be a great fit. “She did not seem nervous at all,” Kendrick explains of Lynn’s first gig on Feb. 3 at the Kilowatt Bar in San Francisco. “So I asked her if she was nervous or not and she said, ‘Oh God Yes!’” 

This year is already looking promising for The Inciters as they have already booked dates for May at the annual Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas, along with a three night residency at the Peppermill Casino in Reno this July. 

“We play four sets a night,” Macabre says of the residency, adding it’s become a regular stop in their yearly show roster. “We try to get up there four or more times a year. It’s a lot of fun!” 

In the meantime, the band is heading back into the studio at the end of March. They’ll be recording a new song to use as the B-Side for the album’s next seven-inch vinyl single, the “Bring Back The Weekend” title track. The single will also come with an exclusive comic telling the song’s story. 

But that’s not the only thing The Inciters have hiding behind their cool sunglasses. “At the end of the year we want to do an EP,” Kendrick says.


The Inciters

The Ritz

400 S. First Street, San Jose

Feb. 23, 8pm

$20/adv, $25/door

TheRitzSanJose.com

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