Live Review: Black Pumas

Amoeba Music  Hollywood, CA 

Contact: [email protected]

Web: blackpumas.com

Players: Eric Burton, guitar, vocals; Adrian Quesada, guitar

Material: The Black Pumas are an R&B group that play easy-listening music. They ooze hip-hop, R&B and pop at all instances of every song, with cheerful lyrics and soulful grooves that tend to uplift the listener—except for “October 33.” They showed off their "heartbreak" writing skills with this one and they made it count. With lyrics like "I got your number, baby," the song is heartfelt and honest, which is the case for all of their tunes. 

Musicianship: The musicianship was outstanding. Black Pumas is a band, but on this particular day, only Burton and Quesada came out to play. They have a chemistry that is unmatched. Together, they gel as if they’ve played together for years, and it rubbed off on the audience. Burton's voice is very good and together with Quesada’s fancy guitar work, they relished in the audience’s enjoyment of their songs.

Performance: The performance was excellent. Burton and Quesada, both, have great stage-presence. Burton has a great voice, and together with Quesada’s decorative guitar-work, they teamed up to give the audience a fantastic show. “Ice Cream” kicked off the set and had the fans groovin’ and toe-tapping while “Rock 'n' Roll” had them singing along to a funky, party tune that had everyone dancing in the aisles; and all this with no drums or bass guitar. 

Summary: With just a plugged-in, acoustic set for the evening, a drum kit and bass guitar would have only elevated the music to new heights. Catchy, infectious melodies encompassed within groovy chord progressions, made for a wonderful evening of uplifting, inspiring music. All the songs adhere to basic R&B grooves, but Burton puts such melodic vocal twists, and Quesada, such funky guitar riffs, that the songs stand out and resonate on their own. They are currently on tour, literally, all over the place,  here in the States, as well as abroad. From here in L.A. to New Orleans, to Memphis to London and back again, don’t miss these cats as they’ll have you groovin’ and shakin’ what the good lawd gave ya!