SuperBubble, The Fingers, Bad Donkey
A live show by local funk standouts SuperBubble is always a mind-bending, consciousness-expanding good time, and those vibes will be in extra supply on the first night of a four-day New Year’s Eve weekend. With bassist, lead vocalist and loop connoisseur Brandon “B” Barker conducting these jazz-influenced purveyors of deep grooves, everyone in the band gets their time to shine: Rob Drayna and Max Webb on guitars, Tim Ouburg on organ, Wyatt Richards on drums, Dan Muir on percussion, Dave Terran on trumpet and Sterling Wootton on saxophone. Consider them a local version of Tower of Power, or a 21st-century version of the Funkadelic collective—impressive praise, since they just got together in 2016 and released their debut self-titled EP last summer. Expect more of the flavors from that record here at The Royal: slippery guitar solos, transmogrifying instrumentals, jam-band soul, explosive bursts of brass and a unifying thread of funked-up positivity. (NM) The Royal, 4760 S. 900 East, 8 p.m., 21+, theroyalslc.com
Nick McGregor, City Weekly
If you’re in need of New Year’s Eve plans, SLC band SuperBubble is ‘very serious about fun’
In the event you haven’t yet settled on something to do for New Year’s Eve, Brandon Barker has a humble-if-slightly-biased suggestion.
Salt Lake City-based band SuperBubble is headlining the “Happy Funkn’ New Years” show on Sunday night at The Royal in Salt Lake City.
“We all just wanna play hard, and make it stanky, and make people dance, and throw a party,” said Barker, the group’s bassist, vocalist and co-founder.
If a funky, hard, stanky dance party isn’t the recipe for a memorable New Year’s Eve, then maybe nothing is.
Rob Drayna, who founded SuperBubble along with Barker and serves as the group’s co-vocalist and one of its guitarists, added that the band’s motivations are simple: “People wanna dance, and people like to dance to funk music. And it’s fun s— to play!”
Indeed, putting the fun in funk is important not just to keep audiences happy, but is SuperBubble’s modus operandi, as well.
“One thing that I’m really serious about, personally, is we do this s— for fun,” Drayna added.
“He’s very serious about fun!” Barker confirmed with a laugh.
Which makes it all the more ironic that the band was, in part, born out of naked ambition.
“We got this one gig and we ended up jamming Sunday, Monday, then just played that show on Tuesday with that core crew of six,” Barker said. “That’s how we jumped into it. That’s how we got all six pieces together, just by basically throwing together a show — slapping it together in two days and then just jamming it out.”
The end result is that SuperBubble is now a symbiotic musical organism — a combination of guys who are “self-taught and just kinda jam it out” and “super-crazy theory guys [that] actually know what they’re doing,” according to Barker — whose onstage proficiency has evolved beyond even what appeared on the six-song self-titled EP the band released only a few months ago.
“Listening to the EP doesn’t tell the whole story with how a live show looks for us,” Drayna said. “ … We’re able to keep it down in the groove, we’re able to do solos, we’re able to rev a jam up to wall of sound, just like high energy, really pushing hard. Everyone in the band listens real hard, so in that split-second, we can drop it back down.”
“We’re lucky enough to have people super-stoked about SuperBubble. I just hope that we can continue that stoked vibe, and we can continue playing raging shows. And can just continue spreading the roots. I just want people to grab onto it,” Drayna said. “It’s one of those ‘I hate to say too much too soon’ things. In a way, you have to take it for what it is, with what you’ve got going. We have some big stuff ahead of us.”
–Eric Walden – The Salt Lake Tribune
Slug Magazine – Album Review
SuperBubble EP – July 1st, 2017
SUPERBUBBLE – SELF-TITLED
SuperBubble = Lettuce x Tower of Power
A thin layer of mist covers the floor of the club as Brandon ‘Simply B’ Barker speaks his sultry magic into the microphone. A trumpet flairs into life as Dave Terran puts his whole soul into a solo, and the lights dim behind the eight-piece band. “Holy Shit!” I exclaim, as Tim Ouburg’s organ chords descend from outer space and the guitar rips up a jazzy scale. Super Bubble are one of the biggest surprises I have encountered this year, with one of the most solid debuts I’ve heard out of the Salt Lake scene. This album is a fleshed funk fest of jam, jive and jazz, with a couple of the strongest instrumental tracks I’ve heard for years. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the names I mentioned above, or if you just want a short, sweet sample of superb musicianship, I strongly suggest that you avail yourself of Super Bubble.
SuperBubble gets right down to business with an opener that combines math, jazz and funk in just the right ratio. “Hype Squad” is the best song I’ve heard this year, and it’s going to take some serious groove for any other song to upset that position. Piano lines that waterfall over themselves, guitar rhythms that take off into space, and a slew of soulful licks from each instrument remind me of a tossed salad joining Squash and “Squib Cakes.” SuperBubble has a style that takes me back a few years to the days when funky rhythms and screaming trumpets ruled the music scene. Guitar licks that soar in “Sound of March” and the lyrically driven “Coming Home Today” showcase SuperBubble’s sound in style.
If you’re as unlucky as I am, you probably missed the release show for this bad boy, but don’t let that discourage you. You can get a taste of the band’s style and watch for any upcoming shows on the band’s Facebook (facebook.com/superbubbleband) to get yourself hyped. Funky vocals and guitar, flashy piano fills and rhythms that force my feet to dance make SuperBubble a superb example of why Salt Lake is such a great place in which to live and listen. Local talent sure doesn’t disappoint on this album! (Hog Wallow, 07.01)
–Alex Blackburn – SLUG Magazine
Grits Green, Big Blue Ox and SuperBubble Present: The Big Fat Nasty
The other day, SuperBubble frontguy Brandon “B.” Barker (aka Simply B.) popped up on Facebook Messenger. “Yo, buddy! Just so you know, this show’s gonna be the funkiest,” he said, linking to this gig. As you can see from the bill, he’s not kiddin’. Hip-hop group Grits Green (pictured), acid-jazz/afrobeat/funk outfit Big Blue Ox and jam/jazz/loop group SuperBubble all genuflect at the altar of The One, where funk music is God and the Golden Rule is to produce big, fat nasty grooves for the people. The impetus for the occasion? All three acts dropped EPs this summer, and that’s about all the excuse they need for a party like this—but they don’t even need that. Grits, who released Water (gritsgreen.com) in June, is a rare hip-hop band, where live instrumentation matters as much as their rhymes. Legend has it that Big Blue Ox exists only for the stage, where their muscly musical jaunts live and breathe—except when they’ve been captured for posterity on Big Blue Ox(bigblueox.bandcamp.com). SuperBubble is like-minded, starting with more traditional, structured songs as heard on their self-titled debut (superbubble.bandcamp.com), then turning them into ephemeral beings, like great orbs of soap and water that pop in and out of existence. So B.’s appraisal of the show, meta as it might be, is accurate. All three of these acts together under one roof, on the same stage, is gonna be so funky, it’s frightening. (Randy Harward) The State Room, 638 S. State, 9 p.m., $10, 21+, thestateroomslc.com
Randy Harward, City Weekly
Several months ago, I visited with Brandon “B” Barker, otherwise known as local loop guru Simply B. At the time, his nascent band project SuperBubble was just gettin’ started. In May, the octet dropped their debut EP, Effervescent, produced by Mike Sasich and Greg Shaw at Man vs. Music studios. The six-track collection is the expected good-time blend of funk, jazz, rock and soul as ripe for headphone listening as it is for setting the tone for an all-night party. I nominate the closing number, a nocturnal space jam called “Cheese & Wine,” as the new theme song for the Red Butte Garden series. That’s not a dig—the fest, snacks and track, which captures the liberation and jubilance of great music under the stars, just go well together.
Randy Harward, City Weekly
The one release show we have this weekend will take place on Saturday from the band SuperBubble. This is the latest project from Brandon “Simply B” Barker, a solo musician you may also know from his old project Babble Rabbit. This new funk project is more of an ensemble (or expanding collective, as they like to phrase it) featuring Rob Drayna, Tim Ouburg, Max Webb, Wyatt Richards, Dan Muir, Dave Terran and Sterling Wootton. The band’s debut self-titled EP was recorded with Mike Sassich over at Man vs. Music, and will be released this Saturday at the new Utah Arts Alliance Art Factory (193 West 2100 South) right next to the Trax Station. The show itself is actually a part of the second annual “Night on Commonwealth” event, totally free to attend, with music starting around 7 p.m.
Gavin Sheehan, City Weekly
Musicians’ practice spaces can be messy. So when you walk into one—especially one inhabited by a guy who goes by “B”—you’re not prepared for a harmonious collision of obsessive-compulsiveness and feng shui. The hardwood floors are clean, and the furniture, instruments, cases and peripherals are precisely arranged.
Someone’s proverbial stuff is together. It’d have to be, for a guy like B—which stands for Brandon, Barker and Bob. (“My middle name is Robert,” the bespectacled ginger says.) He’s a Captain’s Platter guy with an insatiable appetite for everything from funk to hip-hop to rock to singer-songwriters to soul to jazz. And one diversely influenced, versatile man can’t sound like a band without organizational skills. Playing just one instrument takes focus. B prefers the beefy low tones that, in tandem with drums, anchor music’s engine. His weapon of choice, natch, is the bass, but he wields a variety of axes: guitar, harmonica, drums and a banana-shaped shaker all at the same time…
Randy Harward – Salt Lake City Weekly
Super Bubble is new on the scene, but the lead man, Mr. Simply B, has been thrilling us and overwhelming us for a few years. Super talent has attracted more super talent to create this band. We first saw them at the Utah Burning Man event E11 in July and we were floored and humbled, “we are not worthy”!
Band members include: Brandon B Barker, Rob Drayna , Tim Ouburg , Max Webb , Wyatt Richards, Dan Muir
Music Style: funky crazy, slappy ass bass, super-sonic guitar leads, brassy-assy horn brigade.
You will not be let down! You will be more, after you hear this band. EVOLUTION!
-Ryan Basset – Ogden Equinox Music Festival