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Lathrop celebrates 25th birthday with band

Con Funk Shun first to rock new Generations stage

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Lathrop celebrates 25th birthday with band

Con Funk Shun keyboardist Danny Thomas (left), Eileen Gazaway and Lathrop Youth Advisory Commission’s Cameron Gazaway pose for a picture on the amphitheater at the Lathrop Generations Center, the s...

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED June 28, 2014 1:00 a.m.

LATHROP – Danny Thomas walked methodically across the concrete stage. 

“It’s nice up here. Plenty of places to plug in. It’s a nice spot.”

The keyboardist for legendary Bay Area funk band Con Funk Shun will be part of a headlining set on Sunday at the Lathrop Generations Center – the first official concert ever held inside of the recently completed amphitheater.

And while he and his bandmates – who tore up the R&B charts for nearly two decades after forming in Vallejo – have never played Lathrop before, getting the opportunity, he said, to come out and perform anywhere for the first time is a special experience. 

Especially when its young people that got the ball rolling on the project in the first place. 

“What’s great about shows like this is that brings out all types of people and they get to come down and dance and enjoy themselves and the music and party in such a friendly atmosphere,” he said. “For me music is life and you get the chance to share that with people and see how they take it and enjoy it and it’s an honor. We’re thrilled to be a part of this event.”

The band is set to take the stage at 7 p.m.

Typically events like the one on Sunday are organized months in advance and take careful planning and pre-planning and schedule checking and booking and all of the showbiz steps that are required to make something like this work. 

But when Lathrop Youth Advisory Commissioner Cameron Gazaway came to his mom to think up ideas on how to draw people out to The Generations Center for festivities on opening weekend, she immediately opened up her Rolodex and started making phone calls. 

Yes, things did need to be checked and cross-checked and approvals needed to be had. But with a backstory so heavily rooted in the “can do” spirit of local youth – the idea behind the teen center was first broached by the YAC and they played an advisory role throughout the entire process – the decision on where to come groove down wasn’t necessarily a difficult one.

“I think that it’s very important that we make sure that our youth are involved in the community – I know that when we were younger that was a very big thing and it’s good to see that it’s something that has continued,” Thomas said. “These kids are literally the future and to see that they’re motivated to do these things to better their community – I think that it’s great.”

Gazaway said that he was thrilled to be a part of a group of like-minded individuals that were willing to work together towards a common goal that obviously benefitted the community as a whole. 

“It’s about knowing that this place made an impact and that it’s going to be here for years to come – for generations of people to enjoy,” he said. “To see that and know that people are going to come out and have fun and enjoy music. My mind is blown.”

Also performing will be Rene Escovedo, Kylle Thomasson (American Idol), Pounding Portugal, DJ River (Hewlett Packard), Family First Dance Crew, Time Frame and DJ Castle of VH1’s Dance Cam Slam hosting one of the summer’s hottest dance competitions. The first performers start at 10 a.m. and Con Funk Shun takes the stage at 7 p.m. The event is free to the public, and will take place at the Lathrop Generations Center located at 450 Spartan Way – which is Lathrop Road once it goes under I-5. GK Music is sponsoring the sound stage and Geekskwaad Productions is handing the sound engineering.  

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