Your Pleasure Is Our Business
The Barbarian Horde is an 11 piece instrumental goofball punk/funk outfit that is committed to making people's booty shake and to have a good time doing it. The band is made up of several NYC-based in demand freelance musicians 'horded' together by saxophonist Tony Barba. Originally functioning as a quartet under the name the Barbarians,the band expanded to new sonic dimensions as the Horde with the addition of seven new members. The Horde features a six member horn section, full-on percussion, and a slamming high energy rhythm section. Picture Otis Redding, Dirty Dozen, the Clash, and James Brown meeting in a dark alley in a bad part of town and then you might get the idea. PRESS: 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 it's peak. Katie Vrabel-WBURG.COM Nov. 2005 Although they originated as an experimental jazz outfit while students at Alberta, Canada's Banff Centre, The Barbarians now operate out of Brooklyn with one simple goal, according to Boston-born saxophonist Tony Barba, 24: "People (in New York) are pretty reserved. We always encourage people to get up and have a good time and drink a lot of beer." As Jost mentioned, their lack of a show-stopping frontman might pose a problem, if only the members of the band weren't blessed with such soul, talent, and infectious stage presence. It certainly didn't prevent hipsters and metalheads alike from giving the f***-all to cabaret laws during the band's November performance at Star Foods, gleefully crowd-surfing while The Barbs hotwired a '62 Vette and spun donuts with diesel-powered beats and burnt-rubber saxophone smoke. The band was surprised to get such a reaction, but it's not so surprising considering their sound encapsulates a fine mixture of influences into one giant rhythmic aphrodisiac: Jost, formerly of Boston's Skavoovie and the Epitones, adds a bit of ska and reggae foot-shuffling to the mix; Tony Barba (is there a cooler name for a saxophone player?) draws inspiration from '60's soul and 21st century hip-hop, and has toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra; trumpeter Eric Biondo (who platoons with 24 year-old Jesse Newman) sharpens his pop sensibilities on tours with The Monkees and The Drifters; and 26 year-old drummer Brook Martinez ("if we were a boy band, I'd be the shy one," he jokes) cites Green Day's Dookie as a major influence. So if you're a New Yorker who's not too cool to goof off, and who wants to dance to a rock band that doesn't sound like Gang of Four, you just might find a match made in heaven with The Barbarians. "We love you," Barba often tells the audience in between songs. "But we'd love you even more if you'd get out of your chairs and dance!" Joe O'Brien - Cityzen (Oct 15, 2003) 'A guirky, hard-grooving jazz ensemble' -Time Out NY, September 2006.