Austin band bringing Latin funk to Hippo


Latin funk band Brownout is coming to the Thirsty Hippo for a special performance beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21.

The Austin, Texas-based, nine-piece band is touring in promotion of their upcoming album, Berlin Sessions, scheduled to be released March 6 on Fat Beats Records.

The band’s status as a “Funk Powerhouse” (Stereogum) is a reputation well deserved.

With an impressive (and unique) performance resume that includes sharing the stage with the likes of Prince and Ozzy Osbourne, the band has recorded a number of niche albums including Brownout Presents: Brown Sabbath and the critically-acclaimed Public Enemy instrumentals project Fear of A Brown Planet in 2018.

The new album, aptly titled, Berlin Sessions, was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and is the first with lead singer Alex Marrero, whom they originally collaborated with on their wildly successful Sabbath records. 

Berlin Sessions finds the group merging a multitude of styles, from rock to psych and of course the Latin Funk and Breakbeat on which they have built their sixteen-year career and reputation as Austin’s premier party-starters.

NPR recently featured the band on their heralded “Tiny Desk Concert” series, performing songs off the new album. 

NPR’s Bob Boilen described the diversity of the band.

“One of the things you need to know about this band is that they can change traditions or genres almost on a dime. The core members dip into soul, Latin funk, a form of Peruvian cumbia called chicha, and funk covers of both Black Sabbath and Public Enemy. What each configuration has in common is the almost telepathic bond the band has developed after 15 years of working stages across the country.”

The album evolved shortly after recording Fear of a Brown Planet during the hot Texas summer days in Brownout guitarist Beto Martinez’s Lechehouse Music studio located in Buda, Tex.

With only an AC window powering the room, many takes were done with the AC off in 90 plus degrees.

The recordings captured the enthusiasm, sweat, and swiftness of a band eager to record their first set of original material in some time.

“The ideas came swift and there was much experimentation in recording techniques and instrument usage. Steve Berlin was very hands on with implementing new sounds and tones through effects or otherwise,” said Beto. “I not only played on the record but recorded it at the same time. After placing mics and setting the recording gear, I had to play parts I had either just written or just learned all while watching meters and the tape machine to make sure it was all recording correctly with Steve Berlin sitting directly behind me. It was a nerve wracking and trying experience, yet a very fulfilling learning process.”

Tickets for Friday’s show are $12 in advance. Purchase them at