Barbarian Horde
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Barbarian Horde

Band Rock Funk

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Jun
08
Barbarian Horde @ The Tea Lounge

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Jun
01
Barbarian Horde @ Vermont Pub & Brewery

Burlington, Vermont, USA

Burlington, Vermont, USA

Mar
16
Barbarian Horde @ Tea Lounge

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Brooklyn, New York, USA

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Music

Press


“A quirky, hard-grooving jazz ensemble” - Time Out NY (Sep. 2006)


The heavy atmosphere of anguished performance art and sensual dance was more or less instantly dispelled as Anthony Barba’s Barbarian Horde (see, it’s not just a clever name, or rather, it’s a doubly clever name) took the stage. The sax-heavy ensemble kicked off with Even-Keel, an original with a bright rock feel, followed by Bouncy, unquestionably heavy funk, featuring a spastic tapping solo by guitarist Mike Gamble. The Horde were the embodiment of chill, giving the impression of a group of well-dressed friends who just happened to find themselves onstage on a Saturday night out and decided to make the best of it, wearing big smiles (those whose mouths were not otherwise occupied), dancing and swaying, and keeping an eye on one another more than the audience. Alto sax player charmed all with his Miami Vice-inspired wardrobe, while bassist Rob Jost, with boundless energy, had the look and stage moves of a rock n roll player time warped in from the 50s or 60s.

The Horde’s only cover of the night, Loverboy’s Working for the Weekend, had the calculated effect a well-placed and reinterpreted cover should. The audience’s recognition and increased levels of fun and relaxation were almost palpable. The Horde are an almost instrumental group, with vocals serving as occasional punctuation: staccato screams by trumpet player Jesse Neuman, brief harmonized crooning by half the band on Search Party. The band exited on a high note with the unforgettable Big Boy, led by a suddenly spazzy Brook Martinez. The drummer was a model of restraint throughout the night, but for this finale got to his feet to lead the audience in shouting, stomping, clapping and dance moves. Participation trailed off as the moves got more complicated and self-consciousness set in, but by the big finish, enthusiasm for the band was at its peak.

- Katie Vrabel-WBURG.COM Nov. 2005


“Blessed with soul, talent, and (an) infectious stage presence….their sound encapsulates a fine mixture if influences into one giant rhythmic aphrodisiac.”
- Joe O’Brien-Cityzen (October 15, 2003)


“Possibly crazy, certainly over-stimulated—but hardly barbaric—this frantic foursome produces a hyper-literate brand of booty music. Take two parts James Brown, one part John Zorn, a dash of Dirty Dozen, and a splash of Sex Mob—and you’ve got yourself A Fine Time” - Nate Chinen (New York Times Jazz Critic) Nov. 2003


"deliriously kinetic immprov- funk band" - New York Times (March 2007)


"The disc's (Your Pleasure Is Our Business) thigh grooves prove that the title is no put-on." - Time Out NY (March 2007)


Discography

The Barbarians-A Fine Time 2001
The Barbarians Self Titled 2003
Barbarian Horde-Your Pleasure Is Our Business 2007

Photos

Bio

It all started in late 2001 with a quartet of disgruntled music students fresh out their practice room realities at NYU and the Eastman School of Music. Tony Barba, tenor saxophonist and songwriter, had the brave idea of putting a quartet together which had the goal of stressing the fun and audacity of live performance over the attitude of introspection and self-involvement which was given to him along with his Jazz Performance degree. So the close knit group of friends and musicians, which included an instrumentation of trumpet, saxophone, electric bass, drums, vocals, beatbox, and the occasional melodica, set off on their agenda to bring the joy back into contemporary jazz music. The early version of the band named itself the Barbarians, at once a groan inducing pun on Barba’s last name, but also an accurate description of the bands general attitude. The formative years saw some rowdy shows at such NYC haunts as the Knitting Factory, Tonic, and the now defunct C-Note. With signature dance moves, silly vocal taunts from the bass player Rob Jost, appearances in all kinds of different outfits (including drag, sweat suits, tweed blazers and pocket protectors, black suits, and even a nod to Chevy Chase in the “Fletch” movie legacy), the guys forged ahead in some new directions that “modern jazz” performance could have never dreamed of.
The first recordings came quickly in a two year period of time, surfacing in late 2001 and late 2003. “A Fine Time,” the Barbarians first attempt, was recorded in the Ishlab music studio located in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. This album exclusively featured the songwriting of Barba, which at the time was heavily influenced by a 50/50 mix of John Zorn and Sly and the Family Stone. The band was exploring elements of pop and funk music, but still had a heavy leaning toward progressive and free jazz, with tricky rhythms and esoteric improvising abounding. While the audiences at the Barbarians’ live shows loved the band’s on-stage exuberance (especially exemplified by trumpeter Eric Biondo’s beat boxing, dancing, and occasional stripping), they were still a bit alienated by the complicated harmonies and jagged rhythms, which were not altogether danceable or catchy. This led to a complete overhaul in the band’s repertoire, with new songwriting coming from all members (including drummer Brook Martinez’s Latin influenced numbers “Hot Tamale” and “La Fiesta”) that focused on these elements that were lacking. The band even started to experiment with cover songs such as “Maneater” by Hall and Oates, Heart’s ‘Barracuda,” and Loverboy’s “Working For the Weekend.”
With these new forays into pop’s chewy center, the Barbarians went back into the studio Super Bowl Sunday of 2003, recording their second self-titled album in one night at the famed Right Track studio in midtown Manhattan. With the release of the “orange” album, the band played key shows on the east coast and received critical acclaim from local NYC based critics and websites. The Barbarians continued to play shows for a couple more years in and around the five boroughs of New York, but were soon feeling like they were exhausting the sonic capabilities of a quartet without the help of harmonic instruments or percussion. After all, their goal at this point was to get people up and dancing, and that goal could not be realized without the help of some other key players. So in late 2005, Barba recruited the help of a whole gaggle of his friends and fellow musicians, expanding the band to an outfit of eleven members. Now the band was fronting a 6 piece horn section along with guitar and two percussionists. Barba decided to rename the ensemble the Barbarian Horde after some very successful shows at the Knitting Factory and Galapagos, which is located in the uber-trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. The possibilities seemed limitless.
In late 2006, the Horde finally went back into the studio to record the third Barbarians record, “Your Pleasure Is Our Business,” which features raw rock and funk tunes from Barba and Jost. The record was recorded all in one tiny room in ITS studios, which coincidentally happened to be in the same DUMBO building that “A Fine Time” was recorded in. That afternoon produced some magical moments that were captured in the new record, which was released in the beginning of 2007. Currently, the Horde is working on putting together a fall US tour, playing monster shows around the NYC area, and distributing the new goods to the masses.