Live Concert Photography: The Budos Band with Menahan Street Band and Holy Hive at Bowery Ballroom 4/5/19
Over the past few years, I’ve written about and photographed the acclaimed Staten Island-based instrumental act and JOVM mainstays The Budos Band a handful of times. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprise of Jared Tankel (baritone sax), Tom Brenneck (guitar), John Carbonella (congas, drums), Mike Deller (organ), Daniel Folder (bass), Andrew Greene (trumpet), Rob Lombardo (bongos, congas), Brian Profilio (drums) and Dame Rodriguez (percussion) initially developed a reputation for a sound that they described as “Afro Soul,” which draws from Ethiopian music, classic soul and funk; however, with the most band’s most recent releases, their sound has evolved towards what they’ve referred to as “70s Psychedelic Instrumental Music.”
The acclaimed Staten Island-based act’s fifth full-length album, the aptly titled V was released earlier this year through their longtime label home Daptone Records, and as the band’s Tom Brenneck says in press notes, the album feels like the truest sonic representation of the band as the material possesses the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal elements off of 2014’s Burnt Offering, as well as songs that could have easily been found on their first three albums — all while expanding upon it. In fact the album’s first single Arcane Rambler” featured a composition that nodded at hip-hop, 70s funk, Afro funk and psych rock — and in a way that found them at arguably their loosest and trippiest. The album’s second single the Ennio Morricone-like “Veil of Shadows,” featured an arrangement centered around reverb-drenched guitar, shimmering and soaring organs and a big Western/Mexican-like horn arrangement — and as a result, the track possesses a cinematic quality; in fact, to my ears, it sounds as though it should have been part of the soundtrack for Kill Bill. The album’s third single “Maelstrom” brought several disparate things to ind including Fela meets Black Sabbath power chord-based arrangements of Here Lies Man, and a lysergic-tinged Morricone meets Quentin Tarantino Western.
Budos band played a two night NYC area run, which included an April 5, 2019 stop at the Bowery Ballroom and an April 6, 2019 stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. I caught the JOVM mainstays’ Bowery Ballroom set, which featured a career-spanning set, along with the acclaimed Menahan Street Band and Holy Hive, who contributed opening sets.
Formed back in 2007, by its founding member Thomas Brenneck, who once lived in an apartment on Bushwick, Brooklyn’s Menahan Street, the Brooklyn-based funk and soul instrumental act Menahan Street Band features members of Antibalas, El Michels Affairs, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings and The Budos Band. Their debut album, 2008’s Make the Road by Walking has been heavily sampled by a number of hip-hop artists including: Jay-Z, who used the album’s title track for “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is) . . .;” “Going the Distance,” which was sampled by Kid Cudi on “Solo Dolo, Pt. II” featuring Kendrick Lamar; “The Traitor,” which was sampled by 50 Cent on “Talking in Codes“– and by Cudi on his full-length debut, Man on the Moon: The End of Day; and lastly, “Tired of Fighting,” which was sampled by Kendrick Lamar on “Faith.” Since then, the band has developed a reputation for an incendiary live set, opening for their fellow Daptone Records labelmates.
Opening the night was Holy Hive, a Brooklyn-based trio featuring San Diego-born multi-instrumentalist Joe Harrison, Minnesota-born vocalist Paul Spring and Brooklyn-born drummer Homer Steinweiss, who has played with most of the legendary and beloved artists within both the Daptone Records Universe and Big Crown Records Universe. The trio met by a stroke of dumb luck and bonded over their mutual love of folk and soul. And with a handful of influences in mind, the trio wrote and recorded an EP that pays tribute to their favorites while creating a tough but beautiful new space for listeners.