The Macrotones
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The Macrotones

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Band World Funk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Macrotones Get Dirty..."

Not quite Afro beat, reggae, jam-band, rock, or jazz, the 11-member outfit, the Macrotones set themselves apart with a sound unlike any of their peers, no matter the genre. Breaking off from a Fela-esq start-up band, trombonist Nate Leskovic and drummer Aaron Duffy scoured craigslist and elsewhere for musicians interested in a type of collaborative musical tradition rooted in funk for a unique danceable sound.

“It’s not fun to just have someone tell you what to do,” says Leskovic. “That’s always been our philosophy for the group. You bring a song to the band, but the band makes it their own, and everyone contributes their own part.”

Despite the challenge of coordinating 11 musicians to practice and record, the collective has successfully built up a large cult following in Somerville after several months of a residency at Johnny D’s. They’ve caught the attention of more than a few bloggers who have described their sound as a tight display of funk and percussive aggression, the soundtrack to a spy movie, and a tasty musical stew.

“We’re not traditional afro beat,” Leskovis says. “We say heavy afro funk because we like to include more rock and more funk…so it’s a little more danceable. And, it can get more intense.”

Of course, Chris Faraone said it best back in 2009 when he wrote, “Put these guys in tuxedos and they could rock a black wedding to the bone; keep them grimy and they’ll continue smacking Boston’s underground silly.”

Prophecy? Perhaps. Their first record had their keyboardist playing a Rhodes electric piano, giving the group a jazzy sound, but their new pianist is rocking an organ, making it a lot more crunchy and a lot more dirty. They’ll be soiling it up at Western Front this Friday at a show presented by Leedz Edutainment. Be sure to check out their newest material that band member Leskovic says is a “huge leap forward from our last record.” More developed, more structured, and more intense, the Macrotones are only just beginning to let shit hit the fan. - The Photo Journals

"The Macrotones at Western Front"

The Macrotones are like the Wu-Tang Clan of eclectic Boston Afro-funk baked with a stick of weed butter and some kind buds. One of the most reliable world-music acts in the region, the Charlestown-based funk mob will have you dancing with a Red Stripe in one hand and a flexible, sexable creature in the other. If you’re the type to play the bar and groove out from your seat, then try playing the game in which you guess which contemporary fringe-pop classics the Macrotones are reinventing before your very ears. - Boston Phoenix

"Macrotones @ Somerville ArtBeat"

A few weeks ago I found myself in Davis Square—just outside Boston—where I was unexpectedly greeted by the accumulation of vendors of decidedly quirky sculptures and paintings, selling their wares to decidedly quirky people that can only be an art festival. Fortunately, at the same time my ears were greeted by the groovy rhythm section of the eleven-piece funk collective The Macrotones. The Macrotones’ gravelly horn section, unrelentingly groovy bass lines, and chunky percussion (which may have to do with the total of four percussionists) genuinely compels you to dance. The group recently released a debut full length album Wayne Manor for free download. The record sits nicely in a danceable, soulful, and suitably dark place all too often neglected by modern independent music. - Scissorkick

"The Macrotones"

So when a band lists as their influences The Budos Band, Fela Kuti, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the Daktaris, Antibalas, Nomo, and the El Michels Affair, I don't have to scratch my head long trying to figure out if I'm going to like them. I'll take one please, super-sized. And when the band is a (semi-) local band out of Boston, I've got to throw out some kind words for them to help spread the beat.

Their name is The Macrotones, an eleven piece outfit that's got a macro-sound, as in large, thick, and especially prominant. Like many of the groups they mention as influences, they pump out an instrumental, afro-beat inspired, funk sound that will get your booty shaking. While you certainly get the sense that Fela's spirit is lingering in the air, there are also dashes of good ol' American funk thrown in for good measure. Tight horns, funky basslines, all sorts of percussion - certainly a tasty recipe.

Although I haven't had the pleasure, I'm guessing that experiencing these guys first-hand would be quite an experience. If you're in the Somerville area, check them out at Johnny D's in Davis Square and let us know about the show. - Mainstream Isn't So Bad

"The Macrotones - Wayne Manor"

I have been listening to this wonderful debut album by Boston, Massachusetts’ The Macrotones. Their music is all instrumental, and very funky, complete with jazzy horn section and irresistible percussion. This album often reminds me of the soundtrack to a spy movie. There is an inquisitive nature behind each of these songs that keeps the listener on their toes throughout the twists and turns of each song. “Hitchin’ to Bristol” is my favourite song on the album. The horn section just sweeps you off your feet when you would least expect it to. And listen to the insane percussion solo halfway through the song “Clave Fury”. A really interesting band that I definiately think you should check out if you are in the mood for something a little more on the jazzy side. - The Yellow Bird Project

"Show Review: Clash On The High Seas – London Calling Tribute – featuring Destroy Babylon and The Macrotones 7/2"

Yes, I’m pretty sure they ran the recording of “I’m on a BOAT!” during the set change….

But that truly wasn’t the highlight of the night’s voyage around the bay, which was filled with frivolity and fluids (of the alcoholic variety), set to the disarming sway of the vessel and inspirational performances by two of Boston’s finest groups of groovesmiths.

The night’s opener, The Macrotones, are admittedly a little hard to pin down sonically. Obviously the creative solos and refreshing changes in leads between their horn players require some improvisation, but to call them a “jam band” really undersells the elaborateness of their ensemble sections… not to mention the vast array of influences as they dip into the wells of Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Reggae, and even Celtic styles – all the while providing a steady thump that kept
listeners’ feet shaking the upper deck!

And shake it did! With a full house up top filled with semi-random cheers at the particularly rousing moments of the performances, the bands incessantly continued their cavorting with admirable fearlessness as the boat –quite literally– rocked in the waters on a backdrop of a vivid sunset over the Boston skyline.

As the second and final band on the bill, Destroy Babylon began their set with four well-placed and well-played originals to warm the crowd back up against the ocean breeze. Even though I love the Clash at least as much as the next guy, I was quite impressed by their original material – filled with extra-intricate harmonies, adrenalized backbeats, and very satisfying guitar tones to round off a very tasteful and appropriate prelude for their cover set.

Inevitably, that favorably-anticipated moment arrived for us all to hear London Calling, in its entirety, but what I wasn’t expecting was to hear some medleys and segues tacked on and scattered about the various London Calling favorites, such as DB-covering-The Clash-covering-Toots and other Clash favorites from Super Black Market Clash, Sandinista!, Combat Rock, and their self-titled debut. These boys know and love their Clash!

It’s easy to go on about a great pair of bands, but a very big hats-off is deserved towards Rock On! Concerts for putting together an entire summer’s worth of similar boat-shows, dubbed appropriately, “Concert Cruises.” Looking at the future for these cruises is just shy of mouth-watering, especially considering the upcoming performances by Township (7/16… Oh, and Electric Six will be there, too), and The Slackers (9/10).
- Playground Boston

"Album Review: The Macrotones - Wayne Manor"

Wayne Manor, the debut album from The Macrotones, an eleven-piece afrobeat band out of Boston, is tight display of funk and percussive aggression that shows a lot promise for the group. Certain songs attack and punch you in the face from start to finish while others slowly creep, ebb, and flow, much like some of their biggest influences, Budos Band, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Afrika 70, and Antibalas.

Funky basslines and tight rhythm section lay down a tight groove over which the horns drive the action and melody of the song in place of a vocalist. While there are only three horns in the eleven piece band, Nate Leskovic on trombone, Andy Bergman on baritone sax, and Jason Buhl on tenor and soprano, make their presence felt with authority with a heavy, deep register.

The percussion section really takes the identity of the album's overall sound. Since The Macrotones don't have a vocalist, they have an elongated, open texture. The clave, shekere, congas, and trap drums fill in the gaps and give the album its lasting impression.

The Macrotones are part of a growing faction of afrobeat bands throughout the east coast. Inspired by Fela and his contemporary disciples, they take on the same challenge as their peers: to continue the legacy of afrobeat with their own sound. - The Afrobeat Blog (

"The Macrotones – All Asia Bar (Cambridge, MA; Mar. 1, 2008)"

Great shows usually aren’t only remarkable auditory events. They tickle all five senses. The Macrotones’ debut show at All Asia in Cambridge was one of those full sensory experiences.

It’s Saturday evening, March 1, and I’m coming back from a grad school interview. I’m really looking forward to relaxing and thinking about something else than my uncertain educational future. Hopefully, the music will grab my attention and not let it go. The little I know about Afrobeat leads me to be optimistic, although when the songs get too long and repetitive, my mind usually starts wandering.

Taste. Drinks are ordered during the opening band’s performance. A couple of Berklee kids entertain us with some pleasant songs while we sip on the traditional scorpion bowl. Chances are, scorpion bowls are the alcoholic version of the fortune cookie: a purely Western invention.

Visual. The Macrotones come on stage. It’s a big and diverse group of people. There’s no one style to define them. Some younger guys and some older guys, some preppier, some grungier, some intense and some chill. The keyboard player grabs a melodica and initiates the set with a middle-eastern sounding tune. Percussion, winds and guitars follow, all in solid rhythm.

Aural. Soon the instruments take a life of their own, and it seems like they are using the musicians more than the reverse. The bass is telling everyone how to behave, while the sax insists on making his point, but the trombone will hear none of it. The guitar and keyboard are discreet but once in a while show that they were just being modest and that they belong in the spotlight. The bongos settle the other instruments’ differences and transform this eclectic group into a happy but lively family. Tambourines and other small percussion instruments are the small children of this ensemble. Soon enough, the Macrotones tap into your inner rhythm addiction. You know exactly how the music goes and you feel like a distant cousin at a family reunion.

Tactile. All Asia gets crowded and the ear-plugged bartender is having trouble keeping up with orders. The unrelenting rhythms compel a dozen people to start jittering in front of the stage. Soon the jittery legs become dancing legs and dancing arms.

Olfactory. A good show involves an optimal amount of sweat and spilled beer. The musicians were certainly sweating more than the showgoers, coming off of wintery Cambridge streets. The musicians’ energy heated up the room, and made it reek of excitement.

Time. Some call it the sixth sense. It went by quickly. The show seemed too short, but the Macrotones’ kept it sweet. - melophobe

"Local Rhythms"

It's time again for New Year's resolutions. I've decided to make 2009 my year of being green.

I'm newly militant about separating trash and not buying anything that comes in a wax-coated carton.

No more bottled water, when a reusable carafe and a Brita filter does the trick and doesn't add to landfills.

And when it comes to music, the smaller the carbon footprint, the bigger the chance I'll hear it.

To put a finer point on it, the compact disc must die.

Two examples, one right, the other very wrong, illustrate my point.

Earlier this month a Boston band called the Macrotones e-mailed to offer me their latest album, "Wayne Manor."

The all-instrumental record is full of lively jazz excursions infused with a Latin backbeat. The unique sound recalls a funky version of Sun Ra's Arkestra (there are 10 musicians credited, and they all seem to be working on every track), as well as Frank Zappa in his "Grand Wazoo" days.

The Macrotones also remind me of newer groups like Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, and the album's best track, "Book It," pulls all the elements together, featuring sizzling trombone work from Nate Leskovic, with hypnotic percussion and twin saxophones making a tasty musical stew.

Notice how I haven't referred to "Wayne Manor" as a CD?

The band's e-mail pointed me to a Web site where the album and all the artwork could be found. You'd think this would be an everyday occurrence, but strangely it was the first time a band offered to provide a review copy in this way. - Eagle Times (New Hampshire)

"Just the 11 of us - The Macrotones find strength in numbers"

De La Soul believe that three is the magic number. My college girlfriend thought it was 55, not counting guys she only blew. But the Macrotones — a pleasantly excessive Allston-based instrumental outfit that rejects categorization within Afrobeat, reggae, and jam-band boundaries but will nonetheless be regularly lumped among those genres — believe the divine integer is 11. That's right — their group goes to 11.

Some might suspect that such a clan requires rigid hierarchical organization. The Macrotones, however, have decided there's no room for dominance in a non-political party of their magnitude. Founding members Nate Smith (bass) and Aaron Duffy (drums) arrived at that conclusion last year after joining a start-up Afrobeat alliance with a bandleader who fancied himself the bastard spawn of Sting and Fela Kuti. (Which might have been the case, you never know.) Instead of sticking out a painful Craigslist-facilitated shotgun marriage, the pair split with half the dude's crew and started fresh.

"We have 11 people now, which is a recipe for drama, but we've been able to weed it down to those of us who get along," says Nate Leskovic (trombone). "Looking back to the beginning, which wasn't very long ago at all, I'd say that we've been able to do it because we have no bandleader. That's on purpose. That was a deliberate move."

Surely everyone who's ever played in a massive outfit is grunting something to the tune of "Please — we did that same thing." No doubt somewhere in Staten Island, Method Man and Ghostface Killah are cursing the presumptions in this article. But they're all full of shit — as are you and that other dude in Bang Camaro. Orchestrating numerous heads is a heavy task every time, and the Macrotones are on point when it comes to micromanaging.

On the night of their Phoenix interview — which corresponds with the first snowstorm of the winter — they're taking turns yapping at the Middle East upstairs. It's unbelievable, but not one member seems to kick mad ego; instead of the usual not-so-surreptitious boasting, I get comments such as this one from Patrick Hurley (percussion), whose thighs are perpetually black-and-blue with self-inflicted tambourine wounds: "All of our songs are Macrotones songs — we would never really say that just one person wrote any of them. That's just not how things work with us."

They first tested their cohesiveness in public at the 2007 Hooker Street Block Party in Allston, where they played their cherry-poppin' gig. The line-up at the time — which included most of the current members — proved capable of creatively cohabitating, but there was still one major issue that threatened to undermine. "Back then we were calling ourselves Mzungu, which means 'whiteboy' in Swahili," says Aaron Duffy (drums). "And besides the fact that it was a stupid name anyway, they spelled it wrong on the flyer, so we knew right then that it had to go."

A brainstorming session soon after yielded the Macrotones handle, which unlike 99.infinity percent of band names actually applies to the broad texture that the 11-homeboy posse cover. To classify the Macrotones as anything specific would involve name-dropping at least three dozen arcane bands that most folks wouldn't recognize. On the other paw, to call them simply "eclectic" is a tragic understatement. Put these guys in tuxedos and they could rock a black wedding to the bone; keep them grimy and they'll continue smacking Boston's underground silly.

For proof of their successful synthesis — and for an explanation of why they've been asked to jam with local hip-hop, indie rock, and reggae acts — you need look no farther than their debut disc. Named after the converted A-frame barn in secluded Maine where they recorded its nine tracks in a 14-hour booze, barbecue, and rhythm marathon, Wayne Manor is a miraculous matrimony of funky preconceived ideals and effective spontaneity. "When you do it like we did — all together in a wide open space — you have to live with a couple of mistakes, but you get a lot more soul," says Jason Buhl (tenor, flute). Adds Duffy: "It's also a lot cheaper — with 11 people that's a lot of individual studio time."

We'll have to revisit the Macrotones after they hit the road together; right now they're getting along fine with weekly rehearsals and regular shows, but a near-dozen unwashed asses in any sort of van or bus is guaranteed to spark some fumes. Time will tell, though — especially if they keep feeding their communal "Macro Fund" with gigs like their upcoming Sunday-night monthly residency at Johnny D's. "We're all still pretty much amazed at how well we're able to correspond without one person having to be like, 'Do this,' " says Hurley. "Anyone who's ever been in any size band would probably agree that that's a major hurdle to get over."

MACROTONES | Johnny D's, 17 Holland St, Somerville | January 18 at 9:30 pm | $5 | 617.776.2004 - The Boston Phoenix


LP - Wayne Manor (2008)

LP- First Signs of Danger (to be released Fall of 2010)



The Macrotones have been bringing tightly honed afrofunk to Boston, New England, and beyond since 2007. Whether they’re opening for national headliners like the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars and Grupo Fantasma, splitting a bill with a great regional band, or playing all night themselves, the Macrotones' taut rhythms keep the bodies moving and heads nodding.

Based initially in Allston, MA, the earliest members of the Macrotones came together to play traditional afrobeat music. While this was a great introduction, it became apparent that there were new, diverse directions that the music was going in. The sound quickly grew to incorporate elements of funk, soul, ethiojazz, and rock. The result is a dark and funky blend of persistent, interlaced rhythms and powerfully dense horn lines. Percussion percolates throughout, making it all the more obvious that the way to take in a Macrotones performance is up and dancing.

Their debut album, 2008’s Wayne Manor, has been described as “a miraculous matrimony of funky preconceived ideals and effective spontaneity.” [Boston Phoenix] It was recorded almost entirely live in a converted barn in the woods of Maine and captures a heavy-grooving band finding their sound. Their forthcoming follow up, First Signs of Danger, features that sound gig-refined and presented in a warm and funky analog setting. Look for it in the fall of 2010.