News Column

The Idaho Statesman Michael Deeds column

August 1, 2014

By Michael Deeds, The Idaho Statesman

Aug. 01--Any card-carrying headbanger knows that it's entirely appropriate to throw the horns at a heavy-metal concert.--

Brown Sabbath takes it a step further. The Black Sabbath cover band, which will cram nine members on the stage at Neurolux (8 p.m.Aug. 6, $12, TicketWeb), includes a three-piece horn section blasting out classics such as "The Wizard" and "Iron Man."

Melding the elephantine heavy-metal riffs of Black Sabbath with Latin percussion, psychedelic guitar and funk creates something uniquely awesome and visceral. Sabbath's melodramatic melodies pack an entirely different punch when supercharged by trumpet, trombone and baritone sax.

"It's a big sound. It's a big band," bassist Greg Gonzalez explains in a phone interview.

"It's like we came across a new genre of music that we didn't even know about. We call it doom funk."

Just don't call it a gimmick. Rock 'n' roll is littered with cover bands that add an element of shtick and run with it -- often into the ground. Remember Dread Zeppelin and its reggae versions of Led Zeppelin tunes? Or Metalachi, the comedy act that periodically rolls through Boise playing mariachi versions of Metallica, Dio and Guns N' Roses hits?

"That was something we wanted to avoid, was being a gimmick, totally," Gonzalez says.

Brown Sabbath is a side project of veteran Latin-funk outfit Brownout. It all began on the final night of a monthlong residency at a bar in Austin, Texas, when Brownout decided to surprise fans with a set of Black Sabbath songs.

It was the musicians who wound up surprised.

"We wanted to do something really unique and different," Gonzalez says. "What we didn't realize is how well it would be received."

Now there's an album out on Ubiquity Records -- "Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath" -- and a full-blown tour.

Austin singer and multi-instrumentalist Alex Marrero -- "the Mexican Ozzy" -- was added to Brownout's eight-man lineup as a frontman.

"He does costume changes," Gonzalez says. "He definitely brings the show."

Critics agree.

"Brownout blows minds, melts faces as Brown Sabbath," the group's hometown newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, trumpeted this spring.

Brown Sabbath was even featured on National Public Radio last weekend.

But the accolades don't mean that Brownout is going to ride the Sabbath wave forever.

"Right now, it's super fun and we've only been doing it this year, and I assume we'll probably keep doing it next year to some extent," Gonzalez says. "But eventually, it's going to become more and more exclusive.

"We don't want to detract from the power that is Brownout."

--Dear Grandma: "Throwing the horns" means making a fist but holding up your index and pinky fingers; its a universal rock 'n' roll sign.


If all goes according to plan, Ticketmaster is on its way to Boise.

The ticketing giant would handle purchases for events ranging from Boise State football to Taco Bell Arena concerts.

"A proposed contract with Ticketmaster for Athletics, Taco Bell Arena and the Morrison Center is currently under review by Boise State's legal department and then will be subject to review by the State Board of Education per standard process," says Greg Hahn, associate vice president of communications and marketing at BSU.

Ticketmaster, which merged with promoter Live Nation in 2010, has a long, fascinating history. Pearl Jam famously battled the company in court.

From a consumer standpoint, the question is: Will service fees go up?

My guess is probably a smidge.

"Based upon the RFP (request for proposal) process, we don't anticipate significant changes to the current service fee landscape," Hahn says, "and we expect if consumers notice anything with the change, it will be an increased convenience and ease of use."


We all know that Boise's beer scene has enjoyed explosive growth.

But 10 Barrel Brewing Co. apparently wants to avoid a different sort of explosion. The Bend- and Boise-based brewery has issued a recall of bottles of Swill summer beer.

Why? Potential overcarbonation.

In a statement, 10 Barrel advised consumers to "put on protective gloves and eyewear" before disposing of bottles of Swill.

Sheesh, couldn't they have told us this right before the Fourth of July? We could have saved a few bucks on fireworks.


I'm giving away three pairs of tickets to Rascal Flatts' concert next week on my Idaho Statesman Facebook page, and offering a free pair of tickets to Nickel Creek's show on my blog. Upcoming giveaways: John Butler Trio, David Gray and Boston.


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Source: Idaho Statesman (Boise)

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