On the Road with the Black Pumas

The Black Pumas are a heavy-grooving soul-rock band from Austin that came together around the collaboration of big-hearted singer Eric Burton and Grammy-winning guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada. Quesada has a rich background playing and producing soul, funk, and Latin music, and he earned his Grammy as a member of Grupo Fantasma in 2010. (The band also backed up Prince on numerous occasions.) With his Al Greene-style burred falsetto, Los Angeles-born Burton developed his ability to emotionally connect with an audience through years of singing in church and busking across the country.

Their paths crossed in Austin, a band formed, and they began gaining attention through a weekly residency at the venue C-Boys and buzz-worthy performances at SXSW.

I caught the Pumas at their first-ever Brooklyn show at the Knitting Factory. Their self-titled debut record was released last week on ATO Records, and the band will be touring the United States extensively throughout the summer, with European dates in the fall.

The Black Pumas will also play Lincoln Center Out of Doors on a special program that features Quesada’s 2018 recording project “Look at My Soul: The Latin Shade of Texas Soul.”

Settling in at soundcheck

Burton at soundcheck

Quesada makes adjustments to the evening’s setlist.

Members of the band catch up with a friend at a bar near the venue.

Bassist Vince Chiarito examines the setlist before the show.

Burton warms his throat with some tea.

Drummer Stephen Bidwell and bassist Chiarito make some final adjustments.

Backup singers Lauren Cervantes and Angela Miller warm up with the help of a little tequila.

Burton pounces to the edge of the stage at the start of the set.

Burton and Quesada

Cervantes and Miller leave the stage.

Burton brings members of the audience on stage for the encore.

Burton greets a fan after the show.