Graffiti & the Funky Blues Shack, Destin
Part of what makes New Earth Army so special is their resiliency and continued commitment to original music. The current band lineup is Michael Flatau on bass, Chavis Hobbs on guitar, Melissa Joiner on vocals, Matt McCarty on sax, and Breyson Boogie Robinson on drums.
This was my first show at the new Funky Blues Shack space in Destin, and I was able to squeeze in early enough to stuff my face with perfectly cooked pasta before the band did their sound check. Owner Chuck Stiles greeted everyone at the front door, and the room was alive with conversation and celebrations.
To accommodate the lingering dinner crowd, NEA eased into their first set. Joiner started with an acoustic guitar, and the band’s audio levels stayed low until the dancers made their way to the front.
With a disco ball spinning overhead, feet shimmied across the floor as Hobbs’ trademark guitar faces (those who have seen him live will understand) signaled the end of the chill set.
As tie‑dyed wait staff hustled to keep everything running smoothly, the kitchen continued to pump out amazing‑smelling small plates, and the beer began to flow. Funky’s predominantly red lights were dimmed, and the music’s volume inched further up to appease the late night crowd.
NEA played a handful of originals, and they transformed covers into songs the lineup could chew on. Standouts included a jazzy rendition of a Bill Withers favorite, a mashup that took a fun turn, and Robinson’s eye‑turning drum solo.
Whether you claim a chair or a spot on the dance floor in front of the band, New Earth Army have proven their staying power on the local music scene.
‑ Nikki Hedrick
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