They gathered one last time on a cold Thanksgiving weekend in 2007. The place was the original Ziggy’s on Baity Street. The emcee was Grady Cook, host of the “Stoners Serenade” radio show on WQFS at Guilford College in Greensboro.
“On the last Saturday night on the last weekend of this place, in all of its history and all of the great musicians who have graced this stage, I cannot think of anybody I would rather see take it on out than these guys right here,” Cook said as the crowd roared. “Ladies and gentlemen, Perpetual Groove!”
Ziggy’s was a haven for jam bands, and Perpetual Groove, based in Athens, Ga., was a crowd favorite there for years. Now Perpetual Groove is teaming up with Marvelous Funkshun of Winston-Salem at the Millennium Center. They will perform there Feb. 24 along with two members of Fat Cheek Kat: Andrew Lazare and Cass Copsey.
“PGroove was booking North Carolina dates, and it just kinda organically fell into place,” said Sam Robinson, 33, singer and guitarist for Marvelous Funkshun.
Robinson shared the bill with Perpetual Groove at the final Ziggy’s shows in one of his earlier bands, Carolina Clearwater. The Ziggy’s shows were part of an annual tradition called Thanksgathering.
The Feb. 24 show by Perpetual Groove and Marvelous Funkshun comes on the heels of a Thanksgathering concert three months ago in the same venue. Robinson worked with Greg Carlyle, the CEO of the Millennium Center, to re-create the spirit of the original Thanksgatherings, organized for years at Ziggy’s by the club’s old general manager, Mark Bloomfield.
The closing of the latest version of Ziggy’s a year ago inspired that show.
“I just kind of felt like we needed it for the scene,” Robinson said. “There’s definitely a void to fill.”
Marvelous Funkshun has been around since 2012, playing a blend of funk, rock, blues, sacred steel, R&B and hiphop. The band has toured extensively from Florida to West Virginia since 2014 and shared bills with Perpetual Groove and other artists, including Eric Gales, Big Something and the Lee Boys.
Chris Johnson, who plays pedal steel for Marvelous Funkshun, also plays in the Lee Boys. He and drummer Ranzy Moore both grew up playing music in church. The other members of Marvelous Funkshun are Will Bagley on bass and Michael Kinchen on keyboards.
Bagley and Robinson previously played together in Sam Robinson and the Groove Elaters. That band was often joined by a couple of veteran musicians, Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd and and Kofi Burbridge of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Robinson said.
Moore, 32, grew up in Mount Airy playing with relatives at the House of God.
“I’ve been playing ever since I could beat up on pots and pans,” he said.
He plays with his brother and cousins in a sacred steel band called the Allen Boys.
“Pretty much my whole family has some type of musical talent,” Moore said.
People sometimes detect his church origins in his playing, he said.
“Any born-and-raised drummer has a unique type of jam or style,” Moore said. “Most of the time you find it in your songs. You can always hear somebody say, ‘You must be a church drummer because you just took that to church.’”
He joined Marvelous Funkshun about a year ago. Robinson and Bagley have been in the band from the beginning. Robinson grew up in Winston-Salem and took piano lessons as a child.
“I kept that up until I thought the guitar was a little cooler,” he said.
Perpetual Groove started out in Savannah, Ga., before moving upstate to Athens. Students at the Savannah College of Art and Design formed the band in 1997. The group took a hiatus from 2013-15, but has been going strong since then, continuing to tour extensively.
The latest Perpetual Groove record, “Familiar Stare,” came out in 2016. The four-song EP came on the heels of five full-length albums and another EP.