The rumbling among Non-COMM attendees swiftly stopped when psychedelic soul group, Black Pumas, started their set on the PRX stage. Within the first few minutes it became clear why they were named Austin’s best new band at the Austin Music Awards. The dancing commended practically instantaneously; it is hard not to be moved by Eric Burton’s powerful voice. Joining Burton onstage was production partner and guitarist Adrian Quesada, as well as a bassist, keyboardist, and two backing vocalists. The whole band moved as a unit, but each member added their own unique talents, making Black Pumas’ sound undeniably theirs.
The set mostly comprised of songs from the band’s upcoming self titled debut, due June 21st via ATO Records. “Colors” showcased their ability to slow things down a bit and to lean into improvisation. The track featured a guitar solo and a keyboard solo, both of which riled up the crowd. The groovy “Black Moon Rising” gave Burton a chance to show off his impressive falsetto. Meanwhile, background vocalists partook in minimal, but infectious, choreography. Not dancing along was simply not an option. At one point, Burton ventured into the crowd to dance with audience members. Through the dancing and the conviction with which each band member played, it was clear that the Pumas love what they do. The audience really loves it too.
The Pumas rounded out their set with “Etta James”. The soulful track that featured a hint of Rock n’ Roll shuffle, showing the depth of the Pumas’ tase. No matter where they seem to be drawing inspiration from, the band always delivers an impressive and singular interpretation. Even after all the other bands perform and they all start to blur together, Black Pumas’ energy and soul will definitely stick out in everyone’s memory.
Check out photos from the Black Pumas’ set, and listen to an audio archive below.
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