Miami-based Latin Funk band Electric Piquete will headline B.B. King's Long Hot Summer Jam, playing some covers and original tunes. The 90-minute set will be recorded live and possibly used for the band's upcoming music video for its new single "De Cara Al Sol." So when you attend, you can brag to your friends later that you danced in a music video. The concert also includes performances by Faith's Place Steel Drum band, Annishka from BET's 106 & Park's "Wild Out Wednesday," singers Grace, Leila Capri, Analisse, Veronica English, BBOY and Praise Dancer Anthony "Kulture" Smith, and more.
Michael Mut plays bass guitar and sings with the seven-piece band that's produced partly by Andrew Yeomanson, AKA DJ Spam of the Spam All Stars. He says Electric Piquete's sound evolved organically to Latin funk from its original rock-trio format. "It was a natural move of letting our collective influences shine through in our writing and arranging," Mut explains. "Personally, I loved the groups like Dazz Band and Heatwave as a kid. That, combined with my love or rock and metal plus a musical awakening and reeducation spurred by mix tapes made by my partner, band drummer and cofounder Ed Rosado, has led me to this point."
For Mut, performing live is very much a spiritual experience, and it's all about the energy. "The beauty of performing is all about the exchange of energy -- the interplay between the musicians onstage and the music one plays for the audience countered with the reaction they give back to us performers. There's nothing like sharing a knowing smile with a bandmate during a moment of live improvisation or the roar of approval from a crowd you've just rocked!" Mut confessed.
Being mostly an instrumental band, its creative process is focused heavily on music first and lyrics last. It's all about jamming and expressing ideas through crafting the tunes. "Writing is about listening to your bandmates, latching on to their ideas, expressing your creativity, and getting the songs built and structured," he explained.
As for why the band is named Electric Piquete, Mut let us in on the backstory, which involves a tribute to the legendary Jimi Hendrix. "The Electric part of it is a tribute to Jimi Hendrix's masterpiece Electric Ladyland, John McLaughlin's Electric Dreams release, and Chick Corea's Electrik Band. "Piquete" is Cuban slang for a group or team, with the root word being 'picket' or protest. I wanted our name to have some sort of substance to it and also be what we are, which is bilingual and bicultural."
Mut has also had the chance to work with other musicians, including '90s Latin-Afro jam band the Baboons (whom we recently interviewed), and he let us in on how that union came about. "The drummer and leader Mano Pila and I have known each other for 20-plus years, back to our days working together at what used to be called Jerry Bassin Distributors, a colossal one-stop where all the area music stores and chains like Specs, Peaches, and Coconuts used to buy their records, tapes, CDs, laser discs, etc." Mut said. "They needed a bass player for their 20th-anniversary gig earlier this year, since their regular bassist is on tour with another South Florida artist. So, Mano and his wife, Majica, asked me to sit in."
His relationship with the Baboons seems to be on-going, and he admitted, "The gigs have continued to come our way, and I frankly enjoy getting a chance to play with as many great musicians as possible, and that band is definitely stacked! So now I'm kind of their de facto bassist and publicist."
But naturally, Mut is still loyal to his main gig with Electric Piquete. You can help him share knowing smiles with his bandmates this August 24 in West Palm Beach. Wear your dancing shoes.
Electric Piquete at the Long Hot Summer Jam, August 24, at B.B. King, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach. Admission for adults costs $20, $10 for students, and children are admitted free. Visit bbkingclubs.com.