The Budos Band / Vox Sambou Festival Main Stage, Halifax NS, July 11

The Budos Band / Vox SambouFestival Main Stage, Halifax NS, July 11
Photo: Ryan McNutt
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A drunken sing-along isn't exactly what you'd expect at a show from an instrumental band, but that's how the Brooklyn-based Budos Band opened its encore. "Heyyyy Buuuudos… Getttt ouuuut here," sang trumpeter Andrew Greene, prompting the crowd to sing back in response to encourage the rest of the band to return to the stage.
 
Not that the crowd needed much prompting. The tight-but-devoted audience weathering a relatively cool July evening was eager for more music from the Brooklyn-based Afro-soul band following a set full of heavy, riff-based pieces, driven in no small part by the interplay between Greene's trumpet and Jared Tankel's thundering baritone saxophone.
 
The band was a welcome break from the formalism that defined many of the performances to grace the Festival Main Stage this week. Even festival acts that venture furthest from jazz or blues (like, say, tUnE-yArDs) often still performed with a sense of precision and on-stage coordination, from wardrobe to physical positioning. Opener Vox Sambou was an exception for sure: the hip-hop artist from Montreal's Nomadic Massive performed with a six-piece live band and with boundless energy that won over the early evening crowd.
 
The Budos Band proved even more exceptional, in this regard. With some of its members clad in rock T-shirts from the likes of Iron Maiden and AC/DC, the band moved freely across the stage, their interplay guided by what was happening in the music at any given moment.
 
That music, a combination of steady bass-and-guitar riffs with the trumpet/saxophone providing colouring overtop, started forcefully but actually seemed to gain energy through the evening. Maybe it was the increased alcohol consumption on the band's part — the beer flowed steadily, and Tankel acknowledged they had no plans to sleep prior to their early morning flight — but for whatever reason, the set was at its best near the end, particularly the encore.
 
While many festival acts have offered a single song in encore, the Budos Band came back with a three-song assault that represented the show's strongest material and an opportunity for organist Mike Deller to shine. He performed with such force that at the end, the stand had completely fallen out from under his organ, and he played it leaning on the ground. He was determined to keep going to the last note, just as the audience members that stuck close to the stage were determined to stay until they heard it.