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San Francisco, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2000
Band Latin Reggae




"Hip-hop takes the stage"

It's Saturday night and El Rincon, a Mission District restaurant-bar, has it going on. DJ Strategy spins the latest hyphy hits by the Federation, E-40, Mistah FAB, Turf Talk and Too ; the floor is filled with Asian, Latina and black women in their 20s, who gyrate gleefully while their boyfriends and would-be boyfriends bunch up at the bar. Equal exuberance is shown for older material by James Brown, Common, and Eric B. & Rakim. The crowd isn't all youthful, however; there's at least one older couple seated at a back table.

All of a sudden, the recorded music stops. A conga-drum-fueled Latin percussion groove takes over, followed by punchy horns and a driving bass line. The evening's headliner, Bayonics, has taken the stage.

Jairo, Bayonics' lead singer, croons in Spanish, followed by a rapper, June, who lends a sense of urgency to the proceedings. After another salsa-fied percussion break, another emcee, Dreese, lays down his rhymes. The crowd is immediately transfixed. Shouts of "ay ay" fill the air, and when Jairo asks the audience to say "It's all right," they happily comply.

By 1:15 a.m., a full-on reggaeton -- a mixture of cumbia, reggae and rap -- session has developed, in which the sweat-drenched crowd eagerly participates. Jairo dances with audience members as the band chants, this time in English, "Shake that thing, work that thing."

For those used to watching rappers posture onstage by themselves, or backed by a DJ, experiencing a group like Bayonics is a real eye-opener. As Jairo later explains, hip-hop is "definitely the easiest way" to reach young people these days. However, "when you see a live band playing hip-hop, it kinda blows your wig back."

Some call it a movement. Others say it's a revival. But there's no denying that the blending of hip-hop with live instrumentation and a variety of other genres -- including funk, jazz, salsa, reggaeton and rock -- is one of the freshest, most happening things going in the Bay Area's multicultural music scene.

The idea of a band fusing hip-hop with live instrumentation is far from an anomaly in the Bay Area -- it's part of local tradition. During the mid-'90s heyday of the acid-jazz era, groups like Alphabet Soup, the Mo'fessionals, the Broun Fellinis, Mingus Amungus and Jungle Biskit enthralled hipster crowds at such San Francisco venues as the Up & Down Club and the Elbo Room. For these artists, soul, jazz and hip-hop were all interchangeable elements of the musical mix. But though acid jazz eventually fell out of fashion, the music never stopped -- it's just taken on new forms.

As Candida Martinez, a club booker who's been one of the biggest supporters of local bands, points out, "Some of the very same players (are) still on the scene as you had a decade ago."

What has changed since the dot-com era, Martinez says, is that a lot of live-music venues have reopened under different management as "swanky DJ bars with expensive drinks." For that reason, "venues like Bruno's, the Elbo Room, the Independent, Mezzanine, Shattuck Down Low and Yoshi's are very precious because they work to preserve and present good live music."

Currently, the Bay Area is home to numerous groups that blend live instrumentation with hip-hop beats and rap vocals. A partial list includes Bayonics, Dynamic, Crown City Rockers, Agualibre, J.Boogie's Dubtronic Science, Flipsyde, the Coup, Lyrics Born, Blackalicious, L.A.E., Felonious, Inspector Double Negative and the Equal Positives, Bucho, Spearhead and Raw Deluxe. Each has its own nuances and stylistic influences yet, put together, they add up to a remarkably diverse, if still mostly underground, movement.

As Bayonics' Jairo puts it, "musicianship in itself" qualifies as a movement. Noting that school music programs have been severely underfunded, he laments that today's kids would rather emulate Jay-Z than Sonny Rollins. "Everyone wants to be a rapper. No one wants to pick up the saxophone."

The upshot is that local musicians have had to become more savvy about self-promotion to survive -- MySpace and YouTube have helped in this regard. In the process, the sites have created a community of like-minded artists who have found their groove and are beginning to find their audiences. As Jairo says, Bayonics' monthly residency at the Elbo Room is "packed tight. You can't even move."

Bayonics' multifaceted sound could be seen as the hip-hop generation's answer to the Latin fusion of the '70s -- think Malo and Santana, minus the guitar pyrotechnics and with a more street-wise style. Getting that sound has been an evolutionary process. The band started six years ago as a traditional salsa group, Mala Fama, that emerged out of the Loco Bloco drum ensemble.

"We all grew up doing folkloric music," Jairo explains. After-hours jam sessions led to excursions into funk and hip-hop -- which Jairo says was as much a part of the group members' experience growing up as traditional Latin and Chicano music. Historically, he notes, West Coast rappers like Too , E-40 and Snoop Dogg "all recorded with live music," adding, "The majority of us are Latinos, but the urban culture is definitely us."

Agualibre could easily be considered Bayonics' East Bay counterpart. Formerly known as O-maya, the group is also a Latin-tinged big band with a fusion-friendly sound that incorporates rap and reggae influences along with traditional arrangements and choruses. "Agualibre is the result of cultures mixing together," says singer Destani Wolf. "The reality is the world is getting smaller. You have people from mixed backgrounds from all over the world."

The band is still putting finishing touches on its debut album, but Aqualibre quickly has become a fan favorite, playing before rapturous crowds at local venues, including October's Latin Jazz Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens. Onstage, says Wolf, "we're all about having a good time. The result usually goes across the board. You see people of all ages dancing."

Another live urban act with a reputation for a killer stage show is Crown City Rockers, whose sound can be described as Sly & the Family Stone meets Run-D.M.C. The Oakland band started as Boston-to-San Francisco transplants called Mission in 2000 (changing their moniker after objections from the British rock band of the same name), and has released several successful albums, including 2004's "Earthtones."

According to emcee Raashan Ahmad, playing live hip-hop isn't as easy as it seems: "Hip-hop is all about the drums. To get the drums to knock is truly a science." Rap's insistence on 4/4 tempos, he says, can be confusing for musicians from a jazz or rock background. "You have to relearn your instrument to play hip-hop."

In an age of ProTools-produced tracks and rigid radio formats, Ahmad admits, it's sometimes a struggle for hip-hop musicians, yet being a live group does offer some advantages. "You can get into those places where people don't know that they like hip-hop," he says -- like the Stern Grove Festival, which hosted the band last year.

Alongside such nationally known indie hip-hop acts as the Coup, Blackalicious and Lyrics Born, Flipsyde has been one of the most successful live urban groups to come out of the Bay Area. The band is signed to Interscope, and in the past two years, it has toured with Snoop Dogg and the Black Eyed Peas, appeared on Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno's late-night TV shows, hit the top 10 in Germany and played San Quentin State Prison (a la Johnny Cash), and its song "Someday" was chosen by NBC as the theme song for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Flipsyde's mass appeal is easy to understand: It combines the boom-bap of hip-hop with the melodic thrust of rock music. What separates it from other rap-rock groups, including Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit, says the band's DJ, D-Sharp, is that its rapper, Piper, is "a real MC," as well as that its musical influences include rap, blues and Latin music but eschew metallic overkill.

Another distinguishing characteristic is Flipsyde's multiculturalism. "Piper, he's half Brazilian. (Vocalist-guitarist) Steve (Knight), he's a white dude from Alabama. (Guitarist) Dave (Lopez) grew up in Chile. ... Me, I'm born and raised in Oakland, with Mississippi roots," D-Sharp says. "To have so much diversity in the group, that's a representation of the Bay Area."

Yet, while it might be difficult for a musician from the Bay Area to build a successful solo career (with the notable exceptions of Joshua Redman and Charlie Hunter), there's strength in numbers where the live urban scene is concerned. Bayonics boasts 10 people; Agualibre has nine members; there are five Crown City Rockers. And Dynamic recently added a two-piece horn section and a percussionist, for a total of seven.

"The sound is getting bigger," says Kimiko Joy, Dynamic's singer. She says the group started six years ago as a three-piece live hip-hop band. After Joy joined a year ago, its music evolved into what she calls "alternative soul" -- a catchall phrase that incorporates R&B, rap, spoken word, funk and jazz, sometimes within the same song.

"None of us listen to just one type of music. None of us love just one type of music," she explains -- a statement that could easily extend to the entire live-urban movement.

According to Joy, what's happening now in the bay's live music scene is more of a revival than anything else. A few years ago, during the height of the DJ era, she says, "it was really hard for a live band." Today, she theorizes, "people are getting tired of hearing the same songs all the time. They want to hear something fresh and new. ... We are creating a niche that's necessary." - San Francisco Chronicle - Eric K. Arnold

"Funky Party Music for Everyone"

REVIEW Wondering where you fit in at a Bayonics show? The answer is just about anywhere. Take a look around any of their regular Elbo Room shows. A short, hot Latin lady is salsa-dancing with a tall hippie dude. A thugged-out G in a green and yellow basketball jersey plays it hard, standing stoically next to a woman with graying black hair. A beautiful dark-skinned girl shakes her braids beside a guy with a shaved head and a red Abe Lincoln beard. In the middle of the dance floor, two women with crew cuts vigorously bump and grind. By the bar a girl in a fluffy red '80s prom dress talks up a tattooed fella with slicked-back hair.

The seriously funky party band's music is no less eclectic and intriguing. The stage is filled with almost every type of instrument: congas, keyboards, saxophone, trumpet, guitar, bass, drums, samplers, and turntables. The five-year-old group packs at least nine people onstage — a throwback to the days when sprawling funk bands like War and Tower of Power roamed the Earth (Wind and Fire).

But the ensemble isn't shackled to yesterday's grooves. With three MCs, the Bayonics also draw from hip-hop and timba music. Mean, funky horn riffs collide with '70s soul guitar and salsa piano while modern rap vocals cut across the top. By the second song, the solemn b-boy has stopped frontin' and is busy getting down with the get-down. Next time you'll be doing the same. - SF Bay Guardian

"Slumpin' the Knock"

by Sam Devine, staff writer
December 11, 2006 1:23 PM

It’s cold as balls out in the Bayview on Cesar Chavez Street near Highway 280. Still, musicians are coming and going from Secret Studios like it was a busy gas station. Because of the weather, they’re smoking in the halls and hanging out in the usually empty convenience store. A cacophony of music bleeds through the building.

Inside Room Five, the mixing room of a small, yet powerful, recording studio is warm and relatively quiet. You can only hear one of the rehearsing bands through the wall. In front of the room’s comfy black couch, Adam Mori paces in white Timberland sneakers on the blue, grimy carpet. He pauses and rubs his short black hair with both hands.

“Somebody was saying that there was too much reverb on one of the songs,” Mori says, half dancing around the room, pointing to the ground to accent his comments. “This one sounds a little reverb-ed out.”

Mori has worked all day, toiling for Bank of America. But tonight, he is the sax-player for the SF-based live 12-piece hip-hop band the Bayonics.

They’ve been around for about five years now, and have built a steady following in San Francisco. They’ve developed a sound that, true to their claims, really represents SF and the Bay Area – incorporating a mixture of hip-hop, salsa, rock, R&B, reggae, reggaeton and, most of all, funk. They play the Elbo Room almost monthly, and they draw crowds at the Temple Bar in LA. They’ve played the Mission’s Carnaval multiple times and they recently rocked Palo Alto’s Black and White Ball.

Yet, they just haven’t blown up. The simplest answer why not is that they haven’t ever released an album. There are the usual reasons why not – funding, losing band members and good ol’ stoner laziness. Moreover, they are taking their time, really trying to bring a unique, quality product to the plate.

They’ve been refining the album in late-night sessions – some times ‘til dawn – at studios around the Bay Area. Parts of the album were recorded at the Room Five studio, but the group has recorded everywhere from top-of-the-line million-dollar studios, to band members’ bedrooms, to a “straight-up utility closet.”

Inside Room Five’s recording room, a huge upright piano, a vibraphone and an organ sit dormant in the dark. An organ just like this one sat in the backyard of a house party after a Bayonics show on June 6, 2006.

The house party is at a spot called the Pink Palace. It’s a three-story house in the Mission on Cesar Chavez and it’s packed with people. A DJ is spinning the most random things, ‘80’s rock, recent hip-hop and house. Every type of person is there: hipsters, gangstas, rockers and skaters. And the Bayonics are a band as eclectic as this house party.

The party is funky, too, and it’s spilling out into the backyard and out onto the sidewalk. The backdoor’s wooden stairway is cramped with girls in shiny, loose blouses, guys in hoodies of every color, and one guy wearing a mohawk. At the bottom of the stairs is the old organ. It’s a clear summer night, and the organ is all right for now, but the winter will be hard.

Much like this degrading organ, the Bayonics are a musical organism trying to maintain integrity while, around them, the party rages in a hard world.

Technically, the Bayonics began on Boxing Day of 2001. Vargas’s brother had given him an electric bass guitar for Christmas and, even though he didn’t have an amplifier, Vargas started writing immediately. The band’s first song, “On the Grind,” was clacked out on the day after Christmas.

At the time, Vargas was in a group called “Mala Fama” which basically means bad rep.

“Mala Fama’s how we started, dude,” says Vargas while working at a hip North Beach hat shop. Classic soul tunes bounce around the vaulted ceilings as he digs through a box of hats. “Mala Fama was a Salsa band. [It] was Pete, Ben Ezra, Chepo, my boy Gino.”

Vargas’ raspy voice sounds a lot like Tone Loc or Miles Davis. Tourists and North Beach natives stroll in and out and Vargas greets them with a friendly, “How yah doin’?”

Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” is on the stereo now as Vargas explains the birth of Bayonics, originally called Natoma, named after their first practice space.

“Yeah, Natoma started when me and Brian, B-Laz [Brian Lazarus], our old bass player stayed after practice one day at Natoma Studios and I got on bass and he got on guitar. An’ we wrote our song called ‘To the Fullest’ together. It’s an old-school funk jam.”

Today, the Bayonics have Vargas, Adris ‘Dris’ Beasley and Mario ‘J’n’ Gallardo Jr. on vocals, and their styles compliment each other. Vargas brings a versatile mixture of soulful singing and quick-lipped rappin’. While Gallardo, who’s tall, broad shouldered, wears cornrows and oversize basketball jerseys, comes heavy, hard and sparse.

Beasley is a character. He and Vargas are real cut-ups, quick with a joke or a silly voice. He has a unique rappin’ style, combining charismatic speech with a rap that rhymes in unusual places. He also throws in references to Looney Toons and Jumanji.

Conga player Jose ‘Chepo’ Barajas and Pete ‘Pedro’ Gomez hold down the drum section. With his backwards baseball cap drawn down tight across his brow and blank expression, Barajas looks like the last person you’d ever want to approach. But, like most of the band, the minute you break the ice or offer a hand to shake, he melts and smiles. Percussionist Eric ‘E.’ Mendez is the newest member of the group.

Sax man Mori, and trumpeter Jody Scott sum up the horn section. Scott looks and dresses like a hippie crossed with a B-boy - shorts, a thin beard and a Fedora. Mori sports a mustache and always looks like he’s deep in thought. As one of the bands unofficial music directors, he probably is.

Bass man Bob Menacho, a busy musician playing in several groups, has played with the band for about two years.

The band also recently brought aboard two brothers they refer to as ‘the Germans.’ Erik Stern plays some mean timbales and Hans Stern can drop some dope Latin piano montunos. Perhaps it’s because they’re only a quarter German and they're vato-ed out Mexican dudes that grew up around music.

Most of the band members have a mixed, or hyphenated, ethnicity. Which fits the city by the Bay like a glove. Creating a real SF sound has, for the Bayonics, meant learning and incorporating numerous styles of music. And getting that sound has meant having 12 people.

The band has had a bit of a rotating cast. Most of the players have been working-class and money-makin’ has forced a number of musicians to leave. A fresh and promising teenage trumpeter, Josu’ Caravantes, had just joined when he and his family moved to Turlock (He’ll still appear with the band, but on a real limited basis). Vargas grew up in Hercules and SF, working for his parents’ company, delivering. Beasley grew up in SF’s Ingleside, and works at a last chance group home.

The band addresses their struggles in songs like ‘Time Over Money,’ ‘World Wide Hustle’ and ‘Sko Livin’’ (as in ‘San Francis-Sko’). On ‘Time Over Money’ Vargas sings against a pulsing bass hook: “This load of cash / can only last / in this game / aslongasyou move fast’ we all strivin’ for something better / Go on an’ get that cheddar.” The refrain is straightforward and clear: “It takes time to make all that money. So money takes up all of you time.”

Perhaps ‘World Wide Hustle’ says what they’re about most succinctly: “We’re livin’ in a world-wide hustle / An’ that is why we livin’ it up.”

And the band is about good times. They’re a party band when it comes down to it. Their live shows, especially at the Elbo Room, are the pit stops of a raucous funk bus, spilling riffs and beats onto a grinding dance floor. Couples bump and grind, salsa dance and cram the bar. The guys that come for the rappin’ stand around muggin’, sippin’ Hennessey.

The three MCs strut around, rocking back and forth in sunglasses and fedoras, throwing arms in the air - getting their hardcore on. Mori seems disinterested one minute, playing like he’s somewhere else. The next, he’s high-steppin’ around the stage. Guitarist Carter hides under his baseball cap, usually looking down at his guitar pedals or over to the MCs. Hans Stern is like death, glaring out from behind the keyboard, holding down the groove. The drummers watch each other, pointing and smilin’ when they surprise one another with a funky fill. Menacho chicken-bobs his heads, eyes darting intently at the other players.

The members balance their hardcore lifestyles with a comedic sensibility, and that all-important relaxed West Coast attitude. On the street and on stage they wear stone-cold faces, but as soon as they’re in a comfortable setting they’re really just a bunch of jokers, serious about having good times. Watching them rehearse is like watching kids play.

On another cold night, in a different Bayview studio, seven members of the Bayonics are cookin’ a new tune, and their windowless practice space is getting steamy hot. They’re playin’ straight salsa with a funk twist. Around the room are posters from the bands shows. There’s also a gold embossed poster of an organ. Two of the walls are solid pink; the other two are white. The carpet is blue shag and the ceiling is a mixture of sound tiles, with pegboard covering most of a large hole above the entrance. Someone keeps knocking on the door.

They’re writing new material even though five members aren’t there. They’re focused on setting horn lines against drum breaks.

“No,” Chepo, the conga player says to Eric Stern, the timbales player. “Brrrrrrrr. Bat!”
Erik Stern gives it a try and Chepo nods. Now they just have to fit it into its little niche in the break.

Vargas is playing bass tonight. Menacho is touring Colorado with the John Howland Trio, a folk-rock jam band that sounds a lot like Jack Johnson. A friend of Vargas’ from El Salvador showed up tonight out of the blue. He’s dancin’ around and yelling suggestions at everyone as they play. Between jamming, he and Vargas (converse in Spanish, laughing and slapping hands. The players drop in and out - finding their rhythm and decide how to relate to the others.

They work for a while, but some one keeps knocking. It’s the drummer from another band that shares the studio space. They want to use the room.

“We’ve been here since 8:30,” says the other band’s drummer.

“Yeah, but it’s Tuesday though, baby,” says Vargas in his mellow, raspy voice. The dry-erase board does say pretty clearly that the Bayonics have Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hans starts the piano groove, Vargas drops the bass line, and he band gets back to it.

Chepo holds up a single finger to Erik Stern and mouths, “First break.”

The band hits, Mori plays the horn line and Vargas lays out on the bass. The drums have the ball, solo for the end of the bar. “Brrrrrrrr. Bat!” Stern hits it.

After a rehearsal, Vargas, Mori and Mendez went to one of their late-night grub spots. While waiting for their pupusas (a tasty corn bread and cheese dish from El Salvadore), Vargas is chops it up, doing his best impression of an old Jewish woman shopping at Ikea.

“Oh my gawd,” he says flapping a hand limply. “I was there for three hours. And would you believe - (he cups a hand to his mouth and whispers) you have to put it together yourself.”

Their humor has kept them going for a long time. They’re in the game for the kicks as much as anything else, but they are getting to a point where they’re ready to be done with the album.

And that’s what brought Mori to the Room Five Studio - doing final mixes with Derek Bongaarts, the bands producer and house manager. Bongaarts sits in front of the mixing console, wearing a large, black wool jacket, his black ponytail hanging above the chair. He hits ‘play’ and takes a bite of his roast beef sandwich.

The two work as a team, coupling Mori’s musical ear with Bongaarts’ technical abilities. Mori always know what he wants to hear, what needs to get tweaked. And with Bongaarts, it’s never a matter of how to do it, just what a pain in the ass it is. And they work well together; they’re often on the same page.

“Is that reverb’?” Mori begins.

“Yeah. Changing it,” says Bongaarts, knowing the question before it’s asked.

“Thank you,” says Mori.

Bongaarts’ reply is a simple groan: “huhaaagh”

Samba guitar and vibraphone, scratchy with static, drizzles softly through the studio’s fancy monitor speakers. Bongaarts pulls most of the band out of the mix and the room is filled the noises of sparking lighters, people inhaling swiftly and the burble of bongs - all echoing out into some great void. What sounded like the background fizz and pop of a vinyl recording turns out to be recordings of paraphernalia in progress sent into an old-school tape looper. The same type of machine used on the first dub reggae.

“That thing is the shit. Analog tape delay,” Bongaarts says later, pulling the device from among the racks. “It’s a dub song, so it’s gotta be like we went ape-shit with the effects.”

For now, he sits silently at the board and puts the rest of the band back in. A house beat thumps behind the guitar. Then heavy tom-tom drums and rallying horns destroy the old samba record as the funky eclectic sound of the Bayonics knocks the room.

“Yahyah, yahyah, yaaaaaow. Greetings! Ladies and gentlemen!” announces Vargas through the speakers. “You’re listening to the sounds of Bayonics. The Bayonics crew - representing the Bay Area!” The drums boom and the horns blast. The MCs trade lines and the groove drops into dancehall reggae, dripped with dub-style.

“Blaze ‘em up! Blaze em up!” cries Dris while Vargas sings soulfully: “The sensemia.”

» E-mail Sam Devine @
- Xpress Magazine

"San Francisco's Best Band"

THERE ARE many bands that describe themselves by the term "fusion." Most play jazz with a half-assed funk baseline.

It's no accident that a fusion band in the TRUEST sense of the term hails from San Francisco, the city known around the world as a beacon to diversity, creative minds, big hearts.

The Bayonics are not just the best fusion band in the San Francisco Bay Area -- they are the best band, period. Combining salsa, funk, rap, R&B, soul, and jazz with an authentic edge and pulsating groove, the Bayonics are bound to return San Francisco to its glory days as the center of the cultural universe.

In the City's jam-packed clubs, the gritty fusion unleashed by the Bayonics will move you -- ladies bring an extra bra, gents, two shirts cause you're gonna dance your ass off.

Once you've seen a show you'll know this is the nation's next great band.

Check them out at:
Posted by J.P.Bone at 12:11 PM
Labels: Bayonics San Francisco

Anonymous said...

I gotta hand it to Bayonics. I've seen these fellas play about half a dozen times, In the Bay and in L.A. my hometown. And every single time, I could not stand still for a second. First my toes start tappin', then my knees bouncin' and before you know it, I'm busting out the old family party salsa moves I learned as a kid, with a colgate smile. So much for trying to play it cool when Bayonics are jamming.

Just to compare for a second, I remember when Ozomatli entered the music scene in the late nineties, and I was amazed and the cultural diversity and the "fusion" of different sounds. And felt a sense of pride because they were from East L.A. & I felt that L.A. had a new defining sound. Ozomatli has a mix of Chicanos, African-Americans, Asian and Europeans playing a mix of Salsa, Cumbia and Hip-Hop.

When I first heard Bayonics, I tripped out because I thought that the new L.A. sound had hit other major cities, then someone gave me a reality check and told me that this new sound is organically happening in major cities, coming straight out of working class neighborhoods where the population reflects the diversity in cultures and musical taste. It felt good to hear a sound that different cultures could feel and move to.

In my opinion, Bayonics surpasses the Ozomatli sound by adding to the already crazy mix of music, some Funk, Soul and Jazz. I look forward to seeing Bayonics play as much as I can, and following the groups evolution as musicians, and as a group of Real brothers from our neighborhoods.

- Mindfield Magazine

"Local crew Bayonics drops Multicultural hip Hop"

The nine members of Bayonics are locally bred, from San Francisco to Hercules, and have been steadily performing live in Northern California since their 2001 inception. Their multicultural makeup and sound are pure Bay Area, incorporating funk, salsa, and hip hop. Rapper Sr. Grizwald dictates the flow with a commanding presence, while vocalists Rojah and Junbug hit with the smooth soul harmonies to offset the horn and rhythm sections and booty-bumping bass lines. Fans of the East Bay's Loco Bloco dance ensemble and salsa band Mala Fama (where several members got their start), as well as those interested in exploring some of hip hop's important roots, will appreciate this contemporary mix. - SF Weekly

"Bayonics moves Latin funk to free jazz and frenetic hiphop"

Truly a band of these genre-blending times, S.F.'s Bayonics combines the chops and energy of a freestyling jazz ensemble with the beats and rhymes of hip hop. On stage, the group's lineup grows to between nine and 10 members strong, swelling traditional Latin-sounding songs like "Ay Mami" into a heaving, hybridized stew of urban funk. If any live group deserves recognition outside this area (and a big, fat recording contract to release its debut album), it's Bayonics.

by Tamara Palmer - SF Weekly

"Bayonics at Bear Festival"

Bayonics are an 9-piece powerhouse from San Francisco’s Mission District that defines today’s Bay Area experience, fusing the musical genres of hip-hop, Latin music, funk and reggae with elements of rock and jazz. They have been described as a fresh, hip-hop influenced revival of legendary groups like War and Santana, continuously expanding and melding genres to match the evolving cultural landscape.

Bayonics have shared the stage with musical heavyweights such as Wu-Tang Clan, Mos Def, Common, N.E.R.D., Ozomatli, B-Side Players, Cultura Profetica, Katchafire, J-Boog, and The Black Keys.

In May of 2013, Bayonics released their highly anticipated reggae album, City Roots, which shifts from Spanish to English and from dancehall to dub, demonstrating why this stalwart band has been a Bay Area headliner for so long – they never fail to deliver uniquely authentic new music.

The band has been featured on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Datebook section and is widely recognized as one of the top live acts in the Bay Area. They held the #1 spot on the Reverb Nation Latin charts for San Francisco through 2010 and 2011. In August of 2011 they were awarded the San Francisco Bay Guardian Editor’s Pick for “Best of the Bay – Best Frisco Fusion.” - One Foot Productions & Strong Brew

"Bayonics -- Best Band in the U.S.A."

As we've been saying for some time now, there are MANY bands that describe themselves by the term "fusion." Most play jazz with a half-assed funk baseline.

It's no accident that a fusion band in the TRUEST sense of the term hails from San Francisco, the city known around the world as a beacon to diversity, creative minds, big hearts.

The Bayonics are not just the best fusion band in the San Francisco Bay Area -- they are the best band, period.

Folks are digging 'em from Miami to L.A., from northern California to Caracas, Venezuela.

Combining reggae, salsa, soul, and jazz with an authentic edge and pulsating groove, the Bayonics are bound to return San Francisco to its glory days as the center of the cultural universe.

In the City's jam-packed clubs, the gritty fusion unleashed by the Bayonics will move you. As lead singer Rojai says, "Ladies bring an extra bra, gents, two shirts cause you're gonna dance your ass off." - Green Times


Mission Statement (Spring 2011)
Bayonics - LP
On the Grind - EP
Aye Mami - Single
Time Over Money - Single

City Roots ( 2013)

Can't Give it Up (2015 - in production)



“If San Francisco was one big dance floor, Bayonics would be its house band.”

San Francisco Bay Guardian, 7/26/2011

Bayonics are a ten-piece band from San Francisco’s Mission District that defines today’s Bay Area experience, fusing the musical genres of hip-hop, Latin music, funk and reggae with elements of rock and jazz. They have been described as a fresh, hip-hop influenced revival of legendary groups like War and Santana, continuously expanding and melding genres to match the evolving cultural landscape.

Bayonics have shared the stage with musical heavyweights ranging from the Wu-Tang Clan, Mos Def, Common and N.E.R.D. to Ozomatli, Bomba Estereo, B-Side Players and Cultura Profetica.

In September of 2011, Bayonics released their highly anticipated second album, Mission Statement. The album was produced by the Rondo Brothers, whose past projects and collaborations include acts such as Dan the Automator, Handsome Boy Modeling School and Deltron 3030.

The band has been featured on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Datebook section and is widely recognized as one of the top live acts in the Bay Area. They held the #1 spot on the Reverb Nation Latin charts for San Francisco through 2010 and 2011. In August of 2011 they were awarded the San Francisco Bay Guardian Editor’s Pick for “Best of the Bay – Best Frisco Fusion.”

Band Members