The Daily Gamecock

Kool & the Gang to bring the funk on New Year's

	<p>Kool &amp; the Gang&#8217;s original members, brothers Robert &#8220;Kool&#8221; Bell and Ronald Bell, will play their first New Year&#8217;s show at Columbia&#8217;s Famously Hot New Year&#8217;s</p>
Kool & the Gang’s original members, brothers Robert “Kool” Bell and Ronald Bell, will play their first New Year’s show at Columbia’s Famously Hot New Year’s

Legendary jazz group will play free show Dec. 31

What better way to celebrate one of Columbia’s largest parties of the year than a live performance from the band that brought us “Celebration”?

This year’s Famously Hot New Year will include a free live performance from Kool and the Gang, along with up-and-coming soul singer ZZ Ward. The annual celebration, which attracted more than 20,000 people last year, includes food and beer vendors, fireworks and of course, music.

Band member Robert “Kool” Bell said fans should expect to hear some classic Gang hits from the ’70s and ’80s like “Celebration” and “Get Down on It.” He added that even after years of the band’s success, those staple songs never seem to get old.

“The crowd is always so energetic and their reaction is great,” Bell said. “Sometimes we change them up, but at the end of the day, we love the songs and we love what we do.”

Celebrating 50 years together in 2014, Kool and the Gang has had countless top-25 hits, sold over 70,000 albums and won two Grammys, but they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The group just released their first Christmas album “Kool for the Holidays” which was recorded during Kool and the Gang’s most recent tour with singer Kid Rock.

“We made sure to give all the classic Christmas songs a Kool and the Gang twist,” Bell said. “We always got [to] give it a little funk.”

But Bell said they couldn’t resist doing another album coming next year to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

“They said only the strong survive in this industry,” he said. “We wanted to do an album that shows that.”

He added that the album should feature some friends of the band, including Van Halen and Kid Rock.

Until then, Bell said Columbia’s New Year’s crowd should get ready to party.

“This is our first New Year’s performance outside,” he said. “Even if it’s cold out, we’ll heat it up. It’s always a party when we’re around.”


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