When: Fri., Nov. 16, 9 p.m. 2012
This instrumental New York soul-funk combo, led by guitarist Thomas Brenneck, turned my head in 2008 with its killer debut, Make the Road by Walking (Dunham), whose stylistic hybrids cover most of the Desco/Daptone sound—the band nails both the hard-hitting soul of the Dap-Kings and the pentatonic funk of the Daktaris. I was far from the only one impressed: old-school singer Charles Bradley used the Menahan as his backing band for last year's knockout No Time for Dreaming, and MCs such as Jay-Z and Kid Cudi sampled tracks from Make the Road. Last month's follow-up, The Crossing (Daptone), seems tailor-made for sampling, with massive breakbeats, plush horns, gritty guitar licks, and atmospheric Hammond B-3 lines. Even without vocals—which they could easily accommodate—the songs feel like shoulda-been hits. There's a trace of chill Ethiopian funk in the harmonies of "Three Faces," some Rocky-style triumphalism in the pungent trumpet of "Lights Out," and a dose of Ennio Morricone in "Bullet for the Bagman," but the band's authority is so complete that it makes all the references its own. —Peter Margasak The Soul Summit DJs open.