Lots of activities planned for Funky First Friday

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May 4, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---In honor of James Brown's birthday, a big crowd is expected downtown tonight for Funky First Friday.

The Godfather's band, the Soul Generals, is back together and taking the stage, and that's just one of many things happening.

The Soul Generals are obviously the big attraction tonight. They have been practicing all week for this performance. But if you're not hyped about that, there's lots of other stuff to do...enough to make this Friday funky.

It is a special night for Soul Generals drummer Robert "Mousey" Thompson. He and the band are back together.

"Knowing that (James Brown's) presence is with us," he said. "We're going to have to make the best of it, because no one else can fit those shoes."

The band has been rehearsing all week for what's being called Funky First Friday. After James Brown died, the Soul Generals went on hiatus. Now they're back with a show they say is worth the wait.

"If I tell you about the show, you won't come," said bandleader Daryl Brown, James Brown's son. "I will say this: be there at 9 o'clock. We're going to funk you till you say 'I give'."

But this Friday is not just funky, it's lofty. Historic Augusta's annual Loft Tour is going on tonight too. It's a chance to check out unique homes downtown. Historic Augusta's Julia Jackson says they're expecting at least 500 people.

"People can see a loft and maybe stop for coffee and stop for dinner, and pick up dinner, and pick up on the tour, and keep going," she said.

And for a big crowd, Maj. Ken Autry says the sheriff's office will have their mobile command unit ready, just in case.

"We don't have any reason to suspect there will be anything other than what we have on a normal First Friday, but a little larger crowd," he said.

No matter many people show up, there will still be one person missing...but the Soul Generals know this is a birthday present that would make Mr. Brown proud.

"Through his past, what he's left us with, we're going to keep on going, keep his legacy going," Thompson said.

Tonight, in Mr. Brown's place, there will be different band members and artists singing lead.

The Soul Generals take the stage at 9 o'clock tonight. There are a couple of other artists on the stage before them, beginning at 6.

The Loft Tour also starts at 6.

There's other entertainment at 10th and Broad all night, and at 8:30, they'll cut a big birthday cake for Mr. Brown.

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