Brownout!

Live shots

Phases & Stages
Photo By Aubrey Edwards

Brownout!

Copa, Jan. 14

Before samplers there was the break. The part of a song where the melodic instruments lay out, leaving the rhythm section to rip into the raw essence of funk. Nothing attracts dancers quite like the syncopated nature of a well-executed break. Latin music certainly makes itself aware of second-line science, which is why Austin's Grupo Fantasma serves as the perfect vehicle for a Soul Power sideshow called Brownout!. Led by guitarist Adrian Quesada, whose implicit washboard style matches the snare play of drummer Johnny Lopez snap for wispy snap, Brownout! kicked off Friday night's proceedings with a meat-driven cover of Mandrill's "Fencewalk." Belting his congas into a polyrhythmic frenzy, percussionist Rudy Canales accented every groove with both spice and vigor. Rolling through renditions of Freddie Hubbard's "Povo," Jimmy Castor's "It's Just Begun," and Dennis Coffey's "Scorpio," the ninepiece band assumed the role of an early-Seventies park-jam DJ as it motivated a packed house to imitate the steps of James Brown broadcast on a large screen above the dance floor. Alternating original themes between those of funk's past and Quesada's other pet project, Ocote Soul Sounds, Brownout! illustrated the social value of a tight horn section courtesy of trumpeter Gilbert Elorreaga, trombonist Leo Guana, and saxophonist Gengee Centeno. Continuing an Austin tradition formerly practiced by the likes of Bad Mutha Goose, Retarted Elf, and the Ging'breadmen, a communal vibe spread forth from the Copa stage as Brownout!'s infectious attitude beckoned all within earshot to simply "dance, sucka." As allusions to the classic J.B.'s material including "Pass the Peas" and "The Grunt" swung side by side with monster jams by the Blackbyrds and Kool & the Gang, gallivanting B-boys vied for space among a throng of party people so high on the One that a spilled drink brought laughter rather than tears.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Phases & Stages
Badi Assad
Live shot

David Lynch, June 30, 2006

Phases & Stages
Don't Mess With La Musica De Tejas
Don't Mess With Texas Music, Volume Two
Don't Mess With La Musica de Tejas, Don't Mess With the Music of Texas, Volume Two (Record Review)

David Lynch, Feb. 4, 2005

More by Robert Gabriel
KJ Hines
KJ Hines
Prince of the City

April 27, 2007

Play the Role
Play the Role
Bavu Blakes is not afraid

April 27, 2007

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle