Watch the Open Strum Accents online guitar lesson by Carl Burnett from Funk Guitar Survival Guide
Dynamics in your playing are very important, adding dimension by changing the volume. In this lesson, we'll use dynamic accents to add a pulse to open strumming.
Also, as a side note, playing quieter can draw the audience in to listen more intently with anticipation of something more to come. When you're on a gig next time, try having the band come way down to showcase your funky rhythm before bringing up the dynamic as you blast into a lead solo.