Brown Sabbath is the alter ego of Austin-based psych-funk collective Brownout who delve deep into reinterpreting the catalog of metal godfathers, Black Sabbath. “Hand Of Doom,” featuring The Black Angels’ Alex Maas on vocals, is their debut single out now as limited edition, colored splattered 10-inch vinyl with “The Wizard” as the b-side from Ubiquity Records. The full-length album, Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath, is set to follow on June 24.
“The Brown Sabbath idea started out like everything else we do, half inside joke, half psychotic. It was an overly ambitious attempt at challenging ourselves as musicians,” says Brownout guitarist Adrian Quesada. “Bridging the gap between our music and Black Sabbath is not as far of a stretch as it might seem though. Sabbath was not only heavy, but soulful and funky in their own dark way. Half the band grew up as metal heads too, so it came naturally. The experience is already beginning to influence our next album of original music.”
An 8-piece outfit formed ten years ago by members of Grammy Award-winning Latin revival orchestra Grupo Fantasma, Brownout has evolved into a musical force all its own. After garnering their third Austin Music Award last year, the band has continued to produce music that is unflinchingly progressive, while evoking the classic influences of artists such as WAR, Cymande and Funkadelic. They’ve performed at events including Bonnaroo, High Sierra Music Festival, Pickathon, FFFFest, Bear Creek Music Festival, Utopia Festival and Pachanga Fest, while regularly touring the U.S. Brownout’s also served as a highly in-demand backing band for artists including Prince, Daniel Johnston, GZA and Bernie Worrell.
With its latest recording, Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath, they remain true to the darkness, bombast and fuzz of Sabbath’s sound, while re-imagining the music with greasy Afro-Latin horns, hypnotic percussion and psyched-out, rare-groove improv.
Brownout has released three albums including Homenaje (Freestyle Records 2008), Aguilas & Cobras (Six Degrees 2009) and Oozy (Nat Geo 2012).
The groups line-up goes as follows, Alex Marrero (vocals), Beto Martinez (guitars), Greg Gonzalez (bass), John Speice (drums), Sweet Lou (congas), Gilbert Elorreaga (trumpet), Mark Gonzales (trombone) and Josh Levy (bariton Saxophone). The bands other guitarist, Adrian Quesada, is currently on tour with with his other project "Spanish Gold" and had to miss all the West Coast shows.
The band played two sets, the first was all Brownout originals, all hardcore Latin funk. They were very good and had everyone dancing all around the venue. Very good rhythm with an awesome beat to go with it. Guitarist Beto Martinez was off the hook good, one of the best this examiner has seen in a while.
The second set is where all the fun started for this examiner as I'm more of a rocker at heart.
It was just amazing how these guys added a great twist to all of the Black Sabbath hits they played with the congas and the horn section. It really blew this examiner away. Lead vocalist Marrero, who did not appear in the first set, came out with blazing vocals that suited every Sabbath song to perfection, very well done. This guy is very good at what he does, he also did around three costume changes throughout the performance to fit the songs he did.
The first set of Brownout originals lasted around 45 minutes, (sorry no set list). The second set, Brown Sabbath, lasted over an hour and went like this,
"Black Sabbath", "The Wizard", "NIB", "Hand Of Doom", "Snowblind", "Into The Void", "Iron Man", "Sweet Leaf", "Planet Caravan", "Electric Funeral", "War Pigs" and two encore songs, "Fairies Wear Boots" & "Supernaut".
These guys blew the roof off the Whitney Peak Hotel and it's a very big roof. Brownout presents Brown Sabbath put on a spectacular show and all who were there can attest to that.
A great time was had by all.
The Whitney Peak Hotel really has a great top notch venue inside. Cargo is a diamond in ruff and just as soon as the word gets out and it will, all the other great venues in town will have to fight to get shows. The sound system there is superb and as a photographer, the lighting is second to none. Production manager Dan Bishop and his crew did a fantastic job putting it all together. This examiner highly recommends that you check out a show there and see for yourself, you won't be disappointed. To see who's coming next (click here)
As with all this examiners reviews and feature stories, "The Photos Are What It's All About", so check out the photo slideshow and enjoy the show.
All photos by JOHN TUCKNESS
To see more photos of Brownout presents Brown Sabbath at this show (click here)
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