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Thirty seconds into the first song, I thought I had this band figured out. Surprisingly, to this day I still have a hard time explaining their sound. I just got done listening to their self-titled CD I recently received, I must say I am impressed. The thing that has struck me most about this album is the vocals, supplied by Natasha Kmeto, it's like Tracy Chapman meets Tori Amos, with a Janis Joplin twist. This band has an excellent mix of blues & modern rock with a little funk thrown in here & there just for fun. The high point to me is the song Fragment, which has a really cool funk/fusion sound with an off-time drum beat.The song Sueño caught me by surprise. Leon Moore from Bucho lends his trumpet to this song, and it has a feel as if Natalie Merchant joined Cake and they all moved to Tijuana. I love this song! Overall, this CD has a blues-rock feel with the occasional modern rock surprise.

-Lizzy Smith, 98 Rock's Rock' n' Reviews - 98 Rock (Sacramento)

Witty songwriting is the poison in the Downboy soup. Stirring the pot with a loaded spoon of lyrical intent and a hip joining of alternating musical cultures—ones that comprise of Southern rock, big city funk, and Orleans jazz. With a female singer who reminds of Natalie Merchant at times and funky chops that could embarrass the big darlings of the majors, Downboy offers a unique approach to what could easily be dubbed as funky rock. But to stick to one compartmentalization is laughable in this instant as Downboy trots the path of in-between with stops along the way at a Latin hotspot and even a couple of trip-hop joints. California finally has something bigger than Arnold to boast of.

- Jason,, Editor's pick! -

Here is a local rock band with a strong funk and groove undercurrent. Its sound is built around the vocals of Natasha Kmeto, whose warm,husky alto is typically front and center on this debut CD. But it isn’t all Kmeto’s show. Downboy here sounds like a real band, with nicely thought-out guitar parts, fluid bass lines and solid percussion--kinda like if 10,000 Maniacs had spent more time listening to more R&B and soul than folk. The band sounds young....but they get the job done. Overall, though, it’s smart and nicely done.

Jackson Griffith , Sacramento News and Review, June 24, 2004 - Sacramento News and Review

Friday night at the BBC started out a little slow and the crowd was small. Twenty minutes into the show, the band “Downboy,” started bringing in the crowd. Students on the outside patio stepped in and began bobbing their heads and tapping their feet.

Before students knew it, there was a good crowd gathering, grooving to their rock, jazzy sounds.

The band, Downboy, originated in Sacramento in April 2002. Already the talented group has played 30 different clubs and festivals in Northern California and Nevada. They are known for their combination of funk, pop, rock and jazz.

Ricky Maldonado, senior and HCOM major, had not heard of the band, but was enjoying their sounds.

“No I’ve never heard of them before; I just came out here to hang with my buds, but I like the band. It’s hip, a nice little beat. It’s a good time,” Maldonado said. The lead singer of Downboy is a woman by the name of Natasha Kmeto, who goes by “Tash.”

Tash says she has been singing and writing poetry for as long as she can remember. She began in the group because the band was looking for a strong female lead voice, something different from what was out there. And she definitely had a strong, harmonious and intrepid voice.

“Most bands with women lead vocals are sugary and we wanted something different, a harder voice,” Tash said.

Tash is one of four strongholds in the band. Each can carry his own weight musically. John Kasten, on the guitar, has played for over 10 years. Josh Curry, bass, who has been playing for over 12 years, is known for, “getting your booty shakin’ and your feet movin’.” (The T-Shirt he wore for the show read, “RUNS WITH SCISSORS.”) Chris Green, drums, is known for “bashing things,” and that he did, giving the crowd an energetic, vigorous show of talent.

Downboy’s self-titled album will be released May 1. All the music is originally written by the band, and all the lyrics are written by their lead vocalist. Students who missed the show can sample their whole album on their Web site,

Carmina Martinez, Otter Realm, April '04 - CSUMB's The Otter Realm

“.... we headed back inside to check out Downboy.... we were treated to some mighty fine musicianship, catchy songs, and a great show! This band impressed me in a variety of ways. Yes, they were tight, but that’s not all, no sir! Josh plays a 6-string bass, and knows exactly how to use it. John wails on the guitar, throwing in some nice effects to add some sonic spice to the mix. Chris provides the pulse to the music, which resulted in several folks dancing and getting into the groove. Last, but not least, the band is completed by the friendly vocalist, Natasha. She sings with soul, in a similar vein as Tiffany from Mama’s Pride. My favorite song from them was “Fragment,” which left me in awe....While you’re at it, go check ‘em out live, and you’ll see why they have advanced to the finals of the Zone’s Battle of the Bands. Tell them CABANDS sent ya. Other songs performed on this warm evening were “Thought Through,” “On the Floor,” “Nascent,” “ Sneakers,” “Lost and Found,” “Mess,” “The Fray,” and “Functious”. Functious……that’’s a great word, and it describes them well!

Thank you to Downboy for having us out and treating us to a great show, and thank you to the Blue Lamp for treating us to a great experience.”

Brandon Caylor,, August ‘03 -

“...A four-piece band in the general vein of female-fronted hard-pop bands like the Kimberly Trip and Larisa Bryski, Downboy has all the ingredients one needs to make a successful and compelling live sound. Chris Green’s drumming is particularly impressive, as his clear understanding of groove mixes with technical complexity to form beats that make the audience sit up and take notice. Similar statements could be made about the rest of the band members, as well: Josh Curry (bass) and John Kasten (guitar) both are clearly competent musicians, and vocalist Natasha Kmeto’s full-throated vocals make it clear that her voice lessons were put to good use.

...The performances were fine, the stage show was motivated and energetic, and the songs themselves sounded both well-rehearsed and flawlessly performed....Downboy set up a terrific groove, and, for the opening notes of each new song, there was a palpable sense of expectation from the audience.

Downboy has much going for it. The band’’s use of 1980s pop influences (the Police seem a particularly important touchstone, especially in the rhythm section) helps give it a clean, tight sound, and its experimentation with varying time signatures is refreshing (one, if I counted right, ran in 11-eighths time).

...the band could really thrive, perhaps even as a successful major-label pop band--it does have that spit-shined, radio-friendly quality.”

Christian Kiefer, Sacramento News and Review, Vol. 15, No. 32, November ‘03 - Sacramento News and Review


'Downboy' (c) (p) 2004, Downboy


Feeling a bit camera shy


Constant musical evolution has been the name of the game for Downboy through its two and a half year existence. Downboy's groove-oriented feel and funky roots have scored them an ever-growing following of dedicated fans reaching across the boundaries of age, race, and gender.

Featuring a solid line-up of five independently prolific musicians, Downboy's members combine to create a sonic collage of funk, soul, trip-hop and jazz. With Natasha's "warm, husky alto" voice, guitarist John's "sonic spice" and funky rhythms, Chris's drumming that make folks "sit up and take notice," Josh and his six string bass ("he knows exactly how to use it"), and Alex's new layer of beats, samples and sounds, all listeners can find something to love. claims, "With a female singer who reminds of Natalie Merchant at times and funky chops that could embarrass the big darlings of the majors, Downboy offers a unique approach...California finally has something bigger than Arnold to boast of."

In its first two formative years, Downboy has released a debut, full-length album, managed to play more than 60 shows in clubs and festivals across California and Nevada and shared stages with both regional and national touring acts. 'Downboy' is currently enjoying regular rotation on Berkeley's KALX. Industry great Nadine Condon also recently named Downboy "a band to watch."

Most apparent in Downboy’s sound and performance is its love and dedication to art and its inherent communicative effect on those experiencing it. Come find out what's new and discover Downboy.

* see our press page for quote credits