Last week our mission to see live music took us to Brooklyn once again, but this time we didn’t complain about it. As we quickly searched for our next adventure, we came across an event that sounded too interesting to pass up. We wrangled up a few of our friends and headed to Brooklyn Bowl to see the Austin, TX based band, Brownout, for their alter-ego performance of Brown Sabbath, a Latin-funk and psychedelic tribute to heavy metal legends, Black Sabbath. Who wouldn’t want to see that?? (Well, Rachel might have been a bit skeptical.)
We arrived just as the band was taking the stage, and they warmed up the medium-sized crowd with their first set of mostly instrumental rock with a few vocals here and there. They have two extremely talented guitarists and one on the bass that play with casual intensity and creativity. They are accompanied by two drummers – one on a standard drum kit and the other playing congas and bongos to ramp up the Latin flare. But what caught our attention and demanded our devotion for the rest of the show was their brass section. A quartet consisting of a trumpet, a trombone, a saxophone and a baritone saxophone pushed out notes that you could feel vibrate in the soles of your shoes. We loved it. As the crowd grew, it was like watching an infectious virus spread among the concert-goers as their love for the music and appreciation for a new band developed. At this point, Brownout was only playing their original music. The event that is Brown Sabbath hadn’t started yet.
After a short break, and a trip to the bar to refresh our cocktails, the band took the stage dressed in all black. Following a few minutes of music, a man dressed in white pants and a brown wool poncho gradually and dramatically made his way from the back to the front of the stage – this could only be the lead singer and we knew that Brown Sabbath was about to begin. We’re not sure if anybody in the audience knew of him in advance, but his stage presence was that of a rock god. As he started to sing, he raised his arms up to his sides and with a gesture of his hands and a bow of his head, he demanded your attention and awe. We stood there and stared – frozen with excitement – and then we simultaneously started our slow progression towards a mild version of head-banging. Yes, the crowd was full of head-bangers – young and old. His voice was fantastic and as Brooklyn Bowl gradually became very crowded, Brown Sabbath lead us on a journey through about twelve Black Sabbath songs complete with costume changes that seemed to come as frequent as the key changes.
We would absolutely see Brownout again and recommend Brown Sabbath to anyone looking for some great live music. For those of you who haven’t been to Brooklyn Bowl for a concert, we highly suggest it. The dim lighting and dark wood paneling and floors lead you to believe you’re walking into a dingy place, but it’s far from it. At closer inspection, everything is very clean and well thought out. There’s a restaurant, a bowling alley and another bar that’s next to the stage area that never felt too crowded. They even have pitchers of water and plastic cups at the bar ready for you to refresh yourself without having to ask a bartender – surprisingly, this was a big plus. And if that’s not enough for you…Questlove of The Roots DJs there every Thursday night.
This was our favorite night out…so far.
Alicia’s Takeaway: I loved it. Good music is good music. ‘Nuff said.
RCS Takeaway: This band’s ability to get a crowd of predominantly Black Sabbath fans in the mood for Latin funk was magical. The instrumental set at the beginning of the night was my favorite because it was all about the music. Also, the trumpet player either forgot or just straight up doesn’t use the traditional plunger as his mute—he was using his hand! I loved him.