The Budos Band Show Review


Venue: Bluebird Theater

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 07/09/14

Inebriation Level: Party Time

Sometimes you just have to get funky. That right there is a fact of life. Look no further than the eight-piece instrumental band from NYC that call themselves The Budos Band.

I’d originally caught wind of the band back in my college days where they regularly took down the house at the Bluebird in Bloomington, IN. When I heard they were rolling into Denver, CO and hitting up the Bluebird here, it was a no question “let’s party” situation.

I brought the special lady along and we got to the venue a bit after the opening band finished their set. The Bluebird is a nice sized venue, halfway between the small do-they-make-any-money places and large i-can’t-see-a-damn-thing venues. I was in complete party time mode and ready to jam my ass off. We pushed our way right up to the stage and I noticed the roadies not touching the equipment, but just lugging beers. PBR after PBR until they even brought out a damn suitcase of burrs. Now everyone was ready to get into party time mode.

Then some bearded dude walked out with an entire bottle of Jameson and started playing the keyboards. He played a slow, hypnotic riff, making me think we were in the Psychedelic Rock heyday of 1967. Then another bearded dude came out and started beating on the drums like some tribal warrior. So far we were miles from Jazz Funk. Next a homeless man walked out, and I was about to tell him I didn’t have any change when he grabbed the bass. He started flailing around with a crunchy, growling sound, very much fit for a Metal band, but definitely not Jazz. One by one, another bearded dude walked out, each kind of doing his own thing, until there were 8 hippies on stage. Suddenly, the complete disconnect ended and they all impressively fell right into a deep groove. These hippies definitely knew how to get funky.

I was positioned  right underneath the conga player, and it was cool to hear that loud and clear since it’s usually absent from the final mix on an album (example: Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock). Dude was tearing those things up so heavy they were wheeling all over the stage. Right behind him was another percussionist rocking maracas, a tambourine, a clave, and yes, a cowbell. No one yelled, “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell,” because he was bringing hella cowbell. I mean really, if you’re in charge of the cowbell, and you’re giving it all you’ve got, can you imagine what all of them sounded like?

They had a trumpet player who liked to drunkenly yell from time to time and a baritone sax player who was all about dancing around. Their guitar player had a real old school Classic Rock sound and somehow locked in with the growling bass. Everyone had their own style that was far from Funk, but somehow it all worked. Everyone was just bringing it, I mean, this band was tighter than a tied shoelace, or something like that.

The Budos Band was so damn funky that a dance circle formed in the front of the crowd. Being that I can’t dance, I stuck to my little jam zone, but it was hard not to feel the groove. They don’t have any vocalists, so with these guys, it’s all about the groove. On their albums, they have a more Jazz Funk sound. But in concert, they get loud, so it’s more of a Rock Funk thing.

After two hours of unstoppable Funk, they ended with “Up From the South.” They hit the last note so hard that the conga drums tipped over and almost fell on my dome. Now that’s how you end a show. That’s how you Rock. That’s how you get Funky.

5/5: Legendary

5 Records

Leave a comment


  1. You should check out NOMO too. You might like that band.

  2. Good to see Tom Brenneck, the guitar player from Charles Bradley’s the Extraordinaires. That guy gets around.

    • That’s what I love about Daptone. Everyone playing with everyone else all in the name of Funk. Reminds me of Motown, Stax, and some of the other great consortiums of musicians from back in the day.

      • Yea, it’s a cool ordeal having a house band and house sounds once more.

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