The Boom Booms bring a little bit of summer back to Vancouver
At Venue on Thursday, March 29
The Boom Booms must have spent the dying days of an ugly West Coast March wondering what the hell they were thinking. How would you like to be living la vida loca in the sunny, sultry country of Brazil for weeks and then suddenly be stuck back in good old waterlogged Vancouver?
That was the setup for this admirably packed homecoming show at Venue. The East Van–spawned sextet was coming off a three-month extended tour, its stay taking the band everywhere from the steamy jungles of the Amazon to the red-hot streets of Rio de Janeiro. The trip (footage of which can be seen at theboombooms.com/) expanded the group’s horizons from both a personal and musical perspective. By all accounts, the main goal of the band’s members was to immerse themselves in the country’s rich culture, whether that meant educating themselves about mega-dams in Altamira or learning to samba in the favelas. There was also music to be played, with the group’s final days abroad marked by a sold-out Santa Teresa concert played to 500 or so newly acquired fans.
As winter vacations go, it sounds like the kind that not even a 6/49 jackpot ticket is going to buy.
Given that the journey was officially over with the group’s return to Vancouver, it was nothing short of amazing that the men of the Boom Booms looked anything but sorry for themselves. As cold, rainy, and all-around fucking miserable as it was outside, Venue was hotter than Avenida Rio Branco during Carnival, and in more ways than one. Sexxxed-up didn’t begin to describe the shiny, happy, and evidently riotously horny crowd, half of which seemed to think it was in a contest to see who could suck the most face in public. And that was before the show even started.
The Boom Booms had no trouble keeping the good vibes going, the group ambling out to a rapturous welcome. In marked contrast to the rest of the set, things didn’t exactly get off to a high-octane start, with the beaming hometown heroes settling in on stools placed at the front of the stage. What followed was something you’d expect to see around a campfire in the rainforest, the group picking up tin-can drums, acoustic guitar, ukulele, tambourine, and triangle for a sung-in-Portuguese rendition of Chico da Silva’s “E Preciso”.
Shortly after that, all hell broke loose in the most joyous of ways. The Boom Booms have stumbled on a cocktail that’s guaranteed to please crowds of all ages. (If the Vancouver International Jazz Festival isn’t already calling, it needs to seriously get on it.) Over the course of an hour-plus performance, the band’s members left you wondering who they love more: Martinho da Vila, Bob Marley, Sublime, Caetano Veloso, Amon Tobin, or João Gilberto. As for the mosaic of a crowd, they were all about the Boom Booms, who—from conga-thumping Energizer Bunny Theo Vincent to perma-grinning singer Aaron Ross—never seemed to stand in one place for longer than a couple of seconds.
There were straight-outta–São Paulo dudes dirty-dancing with bleached-blond hipsters during “Lonely”. North Van adventurists played fevered games of tonsil hockey during slow jams like Seu Jorge’s “Burguesinha”. And Commercial Drive soccer fans showed their appreciation for Sue Jorge’s “Burguesinha” by yelling out incomprehensible (unless you spoke Portuguese) things like “Ash boog zhee”. Just when it looked like things weren’t going to get any hotter, the band sprayed a tanker truck of gasoline on a raging dance floor with a note-perfect mashup of Bill Withers’s “Grandma’s Hands”, Black Street’s “No Diggity”, and Kool and the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie”.
Even if you entered Venue soured on life by the shit winter weather, it was like being on a tropical vacation for the night, to the point where the audience should have been thanking the Boom Booms and not the other way around. Watch for these guys, because, as the good people of Brazil will happily confirm, they are onto something special.