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Arts and Entertainment

The Boogaloo Assassins and Budos Band @ Echo, 4/16/09

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Photos by Benjamin Hoste/LAist

It was an old school funk showdown at the Echo on Thursday night. The age old west coast vs. east coast rivalry was in full effect. Not in any sort of negative way, but in a purely competitive spirit. What I wanted to know was which band could out groove the other. Would it be the hometown Boogaloo Assassins with their Latin boogaloo or the funky newcomers from New York supporting their second album with the legendary Daptone Records, Budos Band?

If you judged by sheer numbers, it was about the same. Every nook and cranny of that stage was filled with instruments and musicians. Horns, drums, congas, and pianos were all accounted for. If you judged by skill, it also came out about the same. However if your criteria was number of people getting down on the dance floor, I would say the trophy would have gone to the Boogaloo Assassins. Although pure funk is pretty hard to resist, there is something about salsa that is irresistible to one's pelvis. No matter what your age, race, creed, or convictions, once those drums start, you're hips take off whether or not you're ready.

As soon as the Boogaloo Assassins took the stage I kicked myself for not knowing more about Latin music. Suddenly mute amongst a variety of beats and tempos that could have been anything from cumbia to salsa to a rumba or even and probably more likely boogaloo. I do them a great injustice by not being able to speak more knowlegably about the topic. Something I plan on rectifying immediately.

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One thing was clear from that night, retro is in. Whether it's old school funk, motown, salsa, or boogaloo, big bands with classic sounds are back. And thank goodness. They are just as satisfying as when they showed up last time around. Classics are classics for a reason. Old ideas have been dusted off and gussied up with new melodies and lyrics. Popularized by Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Raphael Saadiq, funk and soul are having an underground rebirth from Los Angeles to New York City. And I can assure you the people are digging it.

If you missed the Boogaloo Assassins this time around, fear not. They will be back for two shows in May.


May 1 2009 House of Blues Anaheim 9:00pm

May 15 2009 El Rey Theater 9:00pm