The BLACK PUMAS – ” Tiny Desk Concert “

Posted: December 8, 2020 in MUSIC

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space. The Austin-based rock band Black Pumas is having a good 2020. The group, led by singer Eric Burton and guitarist Adrian Quesada, was just nominated for three Grammys, including album of the year for Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition), and both record of the year and best American roots performance for the track “Colors.” The band’s turn behind a tiny desk (and chair) shows why its debut album — now more than a year old — is receiving so much recognition right now.

Black Pumas’ gritty, retro-soul groove is on full display, while the intensity level builds gradually throughout this four-song set. It’s clear why the band’s live shows have won over fans. From the opening strains of “Red Rover,” Burton digs deep and by the time we get to the ballad “OCT 33,” he’s burning with old-school soul heartbreak. Quesada’s guitar is the perfect call-and-response foil, while the entire band — complete with two powerful back-up singers — calls to mind soul classics, but with a groovy new sheen. Some of Black Pumas’ shows in recent years, the band gets better every time out. The power of this Tiny Desk (home) concert shows that they always bring it, no matter the size of the audience.

The remote performance began with a run through one of the bonus tracks featured on Deluxe Edition that wasn’t included in the original release, “Red Rover”. Despite the song’s new-to-you nature, it already feels like a classic Black Pumas track with Eric Burton‘s soulful lyrical delivery and Adrian Quesada‘s shimmering guitar licks that could have been pulled from a vintage funk record.

After that, Black Pumas took fans down the familiar road of their well-worn hits, beginning with “Fire”. With his rapid-fire guitar riff, Burton was able to infuse the song with the neo-Western flair of a Quentin Tarantino movie mixed with the band’s trademark soul and grit. Things slowed down with a sombre run through the oft-overlooked “OCT 33” where Burton got to take centre stage even more so than usual as the band’s frontman. Finally, Black Pumas closed out their Tiny Desk Concert with their undisputed hit, “Colors”.

Set List: “Red Rover” “Fire” “OCT 33” “Colors”

The Band: Eric Burton: vocals, guitar Adrian Quesada: guitar Lauren Cervantes: vocals Angela Miller: vocals JaRon Marshall: keys Brendan Bond: bass Steve Bidwell: drums

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