• René Cobar

Painting with Music: Bourgeois Mystics’ Grand Performance Captivates.

The canvas was the stage inside the One-2-One Bar in Austin, Texas, and the vibrant colors, the personalities that graced it. Tonto Luigi's solos sprayed yellow sparks, the drums of Duane Barry erupted red lava, the voices of Oochie Galluccio and Countess Von Boopenstein swirled turquoise blue, the bass of Mathilda Bilderberg oozed deep purple, and the energy of frontman Squiggly Finesse glowed a neon green. When the flourishes and strokes were finished, the collective group known as Bourgeois Mystics had painted a musical masterpiece for the amazed spectators.

Mathilda Bilderberg grooves. Photo by Rene Cobar

The brass section of the group—Flannel Farrakhan, Count Chubbard, and Goldman Sax—was refreshing to see last Saturday evening. The trio's classy delivery of velvety saxophone melodies and swelling trumpet notes added a richness missed in today's younger bands. A big group not for the sake of being a big band but for the absolute necessity to deliver a theatrical performance authentically. A performance that cut across decades of music by incorporating a multitude of influences and providing a vibrant blend of genres.

Rich sounds. Photo by Rene Cobar

Jazz was prominent, as were hip-hop and R&B, funk took over several times as well—the fusion in the performance reigned supreme. What impressed, even more, was the group's willingness to engage in theatricality, its devotion to the crowd, the sizzle in each number. The choreography of the group was spot on and reinforced its unity, at the end of the evening it showed that this is a band that is dedicated to performing in every sense of the word.

Vocal prowess on display. Photo by Rene Cobar

"We rehearse a couple of times a week," is what Squiggly Finesse (known in some circles as Zaaló) told me after the gig. Twice a week makes perfect sense for a group who seasons their performance so well, the number of hours and sacrifice paying off in the end. A brand new single awaits fans of the group by the end of this month, and a video release party performance for it also. The sky is the limit for this group of musicians who define what a band should embody: unity, creativity, respect, and great fun.

Tonto Luigi is cool blue. Photo by Rene Cobar

Performance art is all about what you leave on the stage and what those who witnessed you go home with afterward. Bourgeois Mystics were daring enough to leave it all on the line, and because they relinquished any fears of looking silly, they looked spectacular. This post is about their performance beyond perhaps anything else usually documented on these posts. If you have a chance to catch them, you owe it to yourself to do so.

Duane Barry drives the beat home. Photo by Rene Cobar

Like any long-lasting piece of art, music initially reveals a great many things about the artists, but over time the melodies, rhythms, and vibrant codas begin to paint a picture that more closely resembles the ordinary people. The values of a society, the struggles it faces, and how they decide to express that is forever rendered in the hymns that are sung and the chords that are played. The people are the colors; the music is the brushes that drip a bit of them, the world that surrounds them is the canvas, and the portrait is whatever they choose it to be.

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