Our Generation’s Earth, Wind & Fire – BUSTY AND THE BASS

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY: BRITTANY, NO FOMO

It’s only every now and then that you find a gem, a hidden gem amongst a thousand quirky-named gems all aiming to shine the brightest. For us, that treasure discovery was the show-stopping nine-piece soul/funk/hip hop/jazz band Busty and the Bass.

busty and the bass no fomo

As a band of friends who all met at school in Montreal, the sense of camaraderie on stage in undeniable. The artists’ performance is tight with smooth transitions from both lead singers/rappers Nick Ferraro (alto sax, vocals) and Alistair Blu (keyboards, snyths, vocals), natural movements of synced brass instruments swaying, and energy-building song progression. Even though they work as a unit, each band member brings their own flavor to the group and has their chance to play solo amongst the others support.

busty and the bass no fomo

“It’s a pretty democratic songwriting process.” – Louis Stein (guitarist)

After a fourteen-date tour through the US Northeast and around the Great Lakes (selling out their show in Boston), Busty and the Bass hit their first SXSW date where we chatted with Mike McCann (trumpet), Chris Vincent (trombone), and Louis Stein (guitar). With the South and West Coast next on their agenda, these guys are full of momentum picking up hype before their soon to come album release. Humbly performing earlier in the week during the day to a very impressed crowd, the real treat was the late night 1AM performance at Swan Dive on the last official night of the festival where the back patio was packed with a fully engaged and fully loving-every-minute-of-it audience.

Now that’s a performance! Lively, inviting, party-starting, and sexy, these guys don’t mess around when they hit the stage. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen an entire crowd all be on the same wavelength, and there was no question that all the witnesses of Busty and the Bass’s late night set were taken over by the charismatic music and enthralled by the multi-talented guys’ personas.

busty and the bass no fomo

“We’ve done our homework,” McCann, Vincent, and Sten all chime in while describing their performance style. “There was a period of time where we were just watching live videos and live videos, especially larger of live bands just to see what was going on, on stage… There was a Justin Timberlake concert that came out on Netflix that was really good. There was a bunch of live Earth, Wind, & Fire. And Bruno! Bruno is really good. And Funkadelic of course, but we haven’t gone that far yet.”

“With a four-piece band you can all rock out, and it’s great. Once you get past five there’s so much more opportunity for theatrics.” – Stein

busty and the bass no fomo
Playing all new tracks (besides one previous goodie) during their Austin performances, including latest single from earlier this year “Up Top”, the band was able to test the songs and read the crowd’s response to see what tracks will make the cut: From our point of view, we hope they all do.

“You never think, you know, when you’re rehearsing in your basement that your music is reaching hundreds of people in cities across the world. It is. And it is a crazy feeling.” – Stein

busty and the bass no fomo

After grooving the hardest we ever did to Busty and the Bass’ set, we lingered on in hopes of positive news for the future. Luckily we got some. The band is touring on to the West Coast, back home in Canada, and then headed to Europe. Wait, it gets better. This summer, the band will be releasing a nine-track album for our mood-boosting listening pleasure.

“It took a year and a half to make, working with an awesome producer in LA, Neal Pogue, who mixed all the OutKast music, and he produced Earth, Wind, & Fire’s last record [Now, Then & Forever]. He very much channeled those two energies through us. It was a match made in heaven for us. We had a great time.” – Louis Stein (guitarist)

The influence of all these soulful major players is seen in the band’s performance, especially with the encore song capping off the night on an imaginable high level. They ended with their go-to, brilliant cover of… wait for it… Macy Gray’s “I Try”. The crowd was eating it up living so much in the moment as all the bars in Austin shut down one by one around us. We danced with all our energy, knowing we all found the perfect and best party to cap off SXSW.

 

The band kneeled in respect to Eric Haynes’ epic keyboard solo. The crowd swooned with Nick Ferraro’s singing transition to alto sax playing. And when Alistair was passionately spitting out the lyrics, “Don’t forget me,” with the same intensity and precision of Eminem, it’s safe to say…

Trust me, we won’t.

 

TOUR

BAND MEMBERS
Nick Ferraro (alto sax, vocals) – singer
Alistair Blu (keyboards, snyths, vocals) – rapper
Scott Bevins (trumpet)
Mike McCann (trumpet)
Chris Vincent (trombone)
Nick Ferraro (alto sax, vocals) – singer
Louis Stein (guitar)
Milo Johnson (bass)
Julian Trivers (drums)
Eric Haynes (piano, keyboards)

LIFT EP

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