Deutschtown Music Festival Artist Spotlight–The Sun Champs

Part 3 of the 2019 Deutschtown Music Festival In Review

Photo “borrowed” from the band’s Facebook page

The Sun Champs are a funky jam band from Pittsburgh, made up of five guys with serious musical chops. I’d like to think that the band’s name was inspired by the Dayman character featured in the notorious song from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (he is “fighter of the Nightman” and “champion of the sun” after all), but I can only speculate.

Any residual tiredness that I had from staying out late to see Fuck Yeah, Dinosaurs! at St. Mary’s Lyceum the previous night dissipated quickly on Saturday, July 13th, burned away by the four-mile walk from my apartment in South Oakland to the Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden (located on the North Side’s Spring Garden St), where The Sun Champs were playing bright and early (well, at noon, so not all that early, but still bright; it was like 90 degrees and sunny the whole day). I didn’t really know anything about the band, but I liked their name, and I knew beforehand that I was going to want a cold, whiskey-based drink at some point after the morning’s brutal trek.

Government Center Records on E Ehio St

I must admit that I only caught the final third or so of The Sun Champs’ set; as is often the case, I was waylaid by my dorky CD collecting hobby. I was walking down Ohio St on my way to Wigle, and, upon seeing a sign that read “Records” pointing into a building, I knew that cheap, used CD’s couldn’t be far away either. I ended up spending just enough time in The Government Center record store to make me late to the day’s first concert. On the plus side, I did find (and buy) albums by Boredoms, Bailter Space, and Pizzicato Five for only $15 total.

When I finally arrived at Wigle, sweaty and exhausted from the urban hike, The Sun Champs were already in full swing. I was immediately struck by how tight they are as a unit. It all starts with Jordan Allen on drums, who was absolutely locked in; a funky band is only as good as its rhythm section, and The Sun Champs are clearly in excellent hands (no pun intended) on that front. Additionally, guitar solos, sax freakouts, and keyboard flourishes were being thrown around with reckless abandon. It was thrilling to watch.

Shameless plug for Wigle because they distill some awesome spirits!

The cumulative musical effect was that of a jam session featuring members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lotus, and Weather Report. My only regret is that I missed the majority of the set, and thus don’t have much more to say about it.

You don’t need me to tell you about The Sun Champs’ music, though; they just released a self-titled EP last month, so you can listen for yourself. Or, better yet, watch this video for their song “Simple Love.”

Make sure to also give them a like on Facebook and attend their shows in the future.


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