The Budos Band will make Aspen debut at Belly Up
If You Go …
What: The Budos Band
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Saturday, Aug. 26, 9 p.m.
How much: $18-$30
Tickets: Belly Up box office; www.bellyupaspen.com
Many bands like to claim that they can’t be categorized or summed up by a genre name. But few acts are as truly, adventurously singular as The Budos Band.
The Brooklyn-based nine-piece instrumental outfit burst onto the scene in 2005 with a big, blaring, brass-driven Afrobeat sound that drew on Fela Kuti and New Orleans funk. As they evolved, they brought in the otherworldly sounds of Ethiopian jazz and crafted an infectious, party-friendly sound that made them an acclaimed live act on the festival circuit.
More recently, Budos, which makes its Aspen debut Saturday at Belly Up, has taken a hard turn toward raw rock — layering grittier guitar and bass over its funky core.
After making three sequentially numbered self-titled records — “The Budos Band” in 2005 through “The Budos Band III” in 2010 — they swerved toward a more raw, rock-based sound on the 2014 album “Burnt Offering.” The harder sound, with elements of psych-rock, was a natural evolution, said baritone sax player Jared Tankel.
“We’ve been listening to Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy and all these ’70s rock bands together on the road since we started playing together,” Tankel explained in a recent phone interview. “It’s always ben in our listening diet and in our blood to a certain extent. It just took a minute for us to figure out how to translate it into our music.”
The band, going into the most recent record, made a conscious effort to try to bring out more of their rock side.
“There was a switch we needed to flip to really bring it there in the studio,” Tankel said.
With nine members and an intricate ever-evolving sonic palette, Budos writes songs collaboratively. Early on, as they were navigating the global strands they wanted to incorporate into the Budos project, one member might write a song and then bring in others to help. These days they work together and hammer out songs by writing and jamming as a unit. They produced “Burnt Offering” without an outside producer.
The band’s live sets these days draw from “Burnt Offering” and new material from a record that’s due out next year, along with tracks from the band’s first three albums. The earlier songs have taken on new life since the band’s pivot toward rock.
“It’s not quite as pretty and clean as the recording is that we made however many years ago,” Tankel said. “There’s a little more fuzz, more distortion, more rock ’n’ roll. It’s been nice to rediscover those in a certain way and bring some new life to them after playing them for so many years.”
The Budos Band has a hard-won reputation for wild, high-energy shows and packed dance floors. Keeping that momentum going depends on some hard-charging tour habits — “we have a rider with a lot of beer on it” — and on the band’s foundation in close friendships.
“It’s stayed fun for us,” Tankel said. “It’s never felt like a job we have to go out and do.”
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