As I’ve mentioned in a post last month, I first stumbled onto the Astoria, NY-based Balkan folk/punk act Bad Buka when they played at Astoria Music and Arts’ music festival at the old Wonderland Collective in Astoria. And at the time, the band went by the name Panonian Wave. Regardless of the band’s name, their live show has remained remarkably consistent: they play a sweaty, high energy set, and their music is exceedingly passionate yet danceable. Sonically, their material owes a great deal to the folk songs of the Balkan region (in particular, Croatia where half the band can claim heritage), punk rock and even elements of hip hop.
Locally, they’ve developed a reputation for a passionate, sweaty and unpredictably wild live show of incredibly fun, danceable music full of large, almost operatic emotion, horns, elegant strings, power chord-based guitars, wild time signature changes and an in-your-face-attitude. It’s a sound with a passion that feels so immediate and so direct that audiences get swept up in it and go along for a wild, rowdy ride. When I caught them at the Olde Prague in Astoria a couple of weeks ago, beer was being spilled all over the place, as the crowd jumped about for most of the set. At one point you could feel the floor shaking from the weight of about 150 people jumping up and down simultaneously, and it was both thrilling and frightening.
Check out some photos from that night’s show below:
For these photos and a few more, check out the Flickr set here: