Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Concert Review: The Budos Band

Posted By on September 1, 2010, 8:43 PM

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The unpolished diamond of Daptone Records, Staten Island, N.Y.'s The Budos Band left the mostly-full State Room's attendees sweaty and begging for more.--- Formerly Barbudos Band—"bearded revolutionaries"—says percussionist Rob Lombardo, they changed their name during their rise in popularity after receiving too much flak for the Cuban Revolution innuendo. Now simply "The Bearded," they're touring as a nonet and laying down Dap-tasticly thick songs seemingly written to be played live ... and drunk heavily to (at least that's what I've told my hangover).

In an after-show chat backstage, percussionist John Carbonella, Jr. said, "We treat gigs like we're special, invited guests to town. We want to show people a good time." Yep, he and the motley crew did that without a problem. The expansive rhythm section with Brian Profilio on drums, Rob Lombardo on congas and bongos and Vinny Balestrino on shekere—an interesting niche for a musician, to say the least—might sound more like part of the Sopranos than a percussive unit, but these beat-makers held down the tight, full sound throughout the night.


The collection of Afrobeat/Ethiopian jazz/super bad funk/soul/rock-tinged tunes varied from their three simply-named albums: The Budos Band I, The Budos Band II and The Budos Band III. The show cranked open with "Budos Dirge" (III) then dipped into a couple older cuts including "Volcano Song" (I). That was followed by an onslaught of downright danceable tracks from III including "Rite of the Ancients," "Golden Dunes," the show highlight "Black Venom," and "River Serpentine." The Budos Band III is definitely in contention for several year-end "Best Of" lists. They brought out another smattering of older tunes to round out an evening of 16 solid cuts played for an hour and a half.

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Aside from instrumental tracks that stick in your head, evoking dancing around the house, for at least 24 hours, the band is memorable for their charismatic, rowdy members. It's hard to forget bassist Daniel Foder wielding his four-string over the audience like a four-foot "extension" of his crotch. "I just do what the bass wants me to do," Foder said backstage. Maybe that's the dream of every bass. And, not only does saxophonist Jared Tankel blow his baritone like it's a brass cannon, he's quite the salesman. Nary a meek stance of "We have items for sale at the front ... if, ah, you want," like so many timid rockers, Tankel argued against critics comments that the latest album was to "rock" and said, "Go buy a fucking CD. Money back guaranteed. You are going to love this shit. It'll make your life better." Then with fist thrown skyward, followed by more fist-pumping throughout the night, he led the band into more tunes, his love of their music sweeping over the crowd.

More witty stage comments ensued prior to the encore. The trumpet player took the mic and taught the audience how to call someone out to the stage in typical Staten Island fashion, thick accent included: "Hey! Fuckin' Budos! Get the fuck out here!" After that was chanted several times, the eight remaining members took the stage and tore down the house with two tracks, ending on "Up From the South" (I).

On stage they seem like drunken musical madmen, but backstage the band banters playfully in thick accents, having side conversations, swilling drinks while they still can and deciding if they're going to actually go to Jackalope Lounge, where they had invited the 200-plus crowd to drink with them. Tankel talks casually about his new cowboy hat and boots freshly purchased in N.M., while Carbonella excitedly asks questions of his fans, genuinely wanting to know them. The Budos Band, while talented musicians creating incredible live shows, are quite the eclectic ensemble of energetic, fun-lovin' individuals. That itself is enough to see them again.



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