Those more informed than I would have known who they were — would have recognized their funk-infused outfits composed of t-shirts, shorts and face paint for the men and short flowing dresses and black boots for the women — right off the bat. But unfortunately it took me awhile. I didn’t recognize Bonde do Role until they were standing on stage at Club Europa this past Wednesday, mics in hand, with music in tow.
If I had recognized them earlier, I probably would have gone up to them before their set and asked them questions like, Why did Marina leave the band? or, Is this your first trip to Greenpoint?
But I didn’t realize until I flipped through the evening’s photos on my digital camera that they were standing just a few feet away from me the entire night as together we watched their opening bands perform. To my surprise, I had not one but more than ten poorly crafted shots of Bonde do Role’s MC Pedro D’Eyrot, DJ/MC Rodrigo Gorky and new vocalists Ana Bernardino and Laura Taylor. There they were, blurry behind my in-focus rum and coke. There they were again with their heads chopped off behind an ornamental table candle.
Needless to say, I didn’t get the all-exclusive interview of the band that brought Baile Funk to housewives across America (thanks to their commercial success that has landed their tracks on ads for shows like Ugly Betty)! But for those who have “Marina Gasolina” memorized (Boom-cha-cha-chi-chi-cha!!), I am here to tell you that their live show is better than ever: an enthusiastic dance party where fluids flow freely (I was doused more than once by Pedro’s water bottle) and where bottoms shake bombastically!
But let’s backtrack. Bonde do Role was joined by The Death Set and was opened by Philadelphia band Gang and New York band Holy Hail. The Brazilian funk group played at Europa as part of its world tour. After NYC, they are off to Australia and Europe. It’s nice to know that this local Greenpoint venue is an international stage worth playing!
The night started off with Gang, which was fronted by vocalists Amanda Damron and Jaclyn McGraw. Besides their powerful tunes, which combined elements of hard rock and opera (no joke), their dance moves were unstoppable. At some moments their bodies invoked mental images of quirky flight attendants; at others times they did the “Beyoncé move” (you know the one I’m talking about, where she shakes her derrière while moving her arms the way they do in the chicken dance) better than Beyoncé herself.
The trio Holy Hail followed Gang. I’m sorry to say that this band was way out of its league. While their singer was dynamic and also moved well, I found their songs weak and their overall performance boring if not utterly forgettable.
The Death Set, on the other hand, was not only memorable but quite possibly left some physical scars on some of the audience members. Let’s just say they play rough. While their music was nothing special, The Death Set’s members brought the crowd to life and then nearly killed them. I’m not kidding. Death Set’s lead singer did everything from crowd surf to hang from the ceiling to stand on the drum set and lunge his body at those in the front row. When they were done alienating the environment, the trashed their set and dispersed, leaving those up front jostled and everyone thoroughly entertained.
By the time Bonde do Role graced the stage, the club was packed and the people were primed. Their set included all of the hits from their first album With Lasers, with Ana and Laura covering the verses which were recorded by the original female lead Marina Ribatski. Bonde’s live show was provocative, erotic, slimy, loud, and at times unintelligible (but only because I don’t speak Portuguese), and was one of the best rock concerts I’ve been to in a long time.
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