Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Video: T Bird & the Breaks and Brownout at Antone's [Feb. 19]

It was a Friday-night funk fest at Antone's last weekend. Two bands whose reputations for bringing the booty-shaking funk precede them packed the legendary venue.

T Bird and the Breaks are a somewhat modern yet faithful take on old-school big-band soul and R&B. They (meaning charismatic yet cool-as-a-cucumber frontman Tim Crane and his ladies) sing songs about preferring vinyl to mp3 and growing up in poverty but being happy with what you have. Some of these songs, like "Juice" in the video above, are just straight-up anthems meant to get down to. Big bands with horn sections and funk guitars, if done right, never go out of style. It's such a classic sound. T Bird and crew pull it off like no one else in Austin. It was also a nice surprise to see blues-guitar maestro Gary Clark Jr. join the band for a song. I just wish I would've had my camera rolling when it happened. Argh!

Brownout blends old-school funk with psychedelic guitar riffs and Latin percussion, making for a worldly sound that's both exotic and entirely familiar to anyone with some James Brown or Mandrill in their record collection. This instrumental group recently started incorporating some vocals in their music, which adds a nice dimension. Most people at this show were dancing hard, which is how it should be. I don't know how you could stand still during music this funky and powerful.

File Under: T Bird and the Breaks, Brownout, Antones