Diego’s Umbrella brings the heat—sometimes naked
If you mixed a gallon of coffee with a ball of fire and a fifth of tequila and slammed the whole thing in one gulp, you’d have one hell of a night—but if you prefer a blown mind to a ruptured stomach, you should see Diego’s Umbrella instead. They seem to have a similar effect on fans.
“[It’s funny to see] people’s reactions to the show,” says Tyson Maulhardt, one of the band’s guitarists. “They lose control of their limbs sometimes and kind of flail around. Even when we’re playing for people who’ve never heard us before, by the end they’re definitely dancing and having a great time. I don’t think we’ve ever met an audience that wasn’t there with us by the end.”
Their music is upbeat, driving, and dynamic—qualities that grew out of their early years of touring through Europe as a wedding band. “Years ago we got invited to play a Jewish wedding, so we learned a bunch of Klezmer songs and got, you know, really stoked on it and incorporated a lot of it into our set … it was a big influence for us,” says Maulhardt. “Learning a bunch of these tunes and also traveling to eastern Europe and playing in places like the Czech Republic and Croatia, we got very inspired and influenced.” Diego’s Umbrella manages to mix gypsy rock, ludicrously danceable grooves, and exotic musical textures to create music that is truly unique. Their songs will whip you from a slow gyration into a frenzied lurch—whether you feel like dancing or not.
After finishing a major tour with March Forth Marching Band—a Cirque Du Soleil style performance band with more than 30 members, including fire breathers and stilt walkers—Diego’s Umbrella has crash landed into the recording studio, laying down tracks for their fourth full-length album.
With influences such as Gogol Bordello, The Clash, Queen, and Muse, the band says they’re focusing less on creating straight gypsy music, in order to explore new sounds.
“I don’t think it’s gonna be so different that we’re gonna alienate the old fans,” explains Ben Leon, guitarist and vocalist, “but it [will] definitely broaden the scope a little bit. On this album we’ve sort of just been concentrating on each song one at a time and it sort of passes through the filter that is Diego’s Umbrella. There maybe has been a little bit less of an intentional drive toward it being like, ‘gypsy gypsy gypsy’ … [we’re] just trying to put a bunch of really good tunes together.”
With six members—Maulhardt (guitar), Vaughn Lindstrom (guitar/vocals), Leon (guitar/ vocals), Jason Kleinberg (fiddle), Jake Wood (drums), Marcus Schmidt (bass)—homemade outfits and a competitive performance attitude, the band’s shows are guaranteed good times for all.
“Over the years we’ve made homemade mariachi outfits and definitely been mindful of the visual aspect of the show,” says Leon. “And there’s also [a] kind of petty one-upmanship between the members of the band. If somebody starts to do something particularly stupid you kind of want to do something even more stupid, and it’s a really good … positive kind of environment to be in.”
“Like Benny said we try to keep each other trying crazy new stuff or what have you,” says Maulhardt. “Last year our drummer got fully naked at a show, which was pretty sweet. You know [the] stuff that happens, a lot of it, is not planned ahead of time. It just kind of happens in the moment. Like crowd surfing, or our drummer getting naked, or Benny just shredding that guitar—every night is different.”
Diego’s Umbrella plays at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. Tickets are $12/adv, $15/door. For more information, call 603-2294.
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