are a soul/funk band from Melbourne, Australia.Formation and early releasesThe Bamboos were formed in 2000 in Melbourne Australia by NZ-born producer/guitarist/songwriter Lance Ferguson. The initial line-up consisted of Ferguson, Ben Grayson on Hammond organ, Stuart Speed on bass and Scott Lambie on drums. The band's first live performances were at The Night Cat in Fitzroy, where over an evening they would play three sets of instrumental material drawn from artists such as The Meters, James Brown, Grant Green, Ivan 'Boogaloo Joe' Jones and Reuben Wilson.In 2001 The Bamboos released their first self-funded 7" 45 RPM single containing the original songs "Eel Oil" and "Blackfoot", earning them international acclaim from UK Deep Funk DJs Keb Darge, Snowboy, Mr Scruff, Patrick Forge and Russ Dewbury. This recording would begin the studio partnership between Ferguson and Producer/Engineer John Castle that would see every subsequent Bamboos release being recorded at Castle's The Shed Studios in Canterbury, Melbourne.The Bamboos second release was a remix for a side project of UK artist Quantic called The Limp Twins. It was released as a 7" B-side on the Brighton-based UK label Tru Thoughts Records in 2003. By this point Scott Lambie and Stuart Speed had left the band to be replaced by drummer Jamie Jones and current bassist Yuri Pavlinov. A horn section consisting of Ross Irwin (The Cat Empire) on Trumpet and Bruce Sandell on Tenor Sax & Flute expanded the line up to a six-piece.In 2004, their next single, "Tighten Up"/"Voodoo Doll", was released by Kenny Dope (Masters at Work) and Keb Darge (Legendary Deep Funk) on their U.S-based imprint Kay-Dee Records. Both Jamie Jones and Bruce Sandell left the band in 2004 to be replaced by Daniel Farrugia and current Tenor Saxophonist Anton Delecca.A chance meeting between Lance Ferguson and Tru Thoughts A&R Rob Luis in a Brighton club (where Ferguson was able to hand Luis a demo cdr of new material) led to The Bamboos being signed to the Tru Thoughts label full-time in 2005.
Step It Up (2006)
The Bamboos debut album 'Step It Up''
was released by Tru Thoughts in 2006 (Ubiquity Records releasing it for the U.S territory). The 11 track album included 9 instrumentals and two vocal tracks featuring U.K Soul artist (and Tru Thoughts label-mate) Alice Russell. Part of the album was made up of songs already released on the band's early 7" releases (though the songs 'Tighten Up' and 'Voodoo Doll' were re-recorded as new versions for the album). Upon release 'Step it Up' received positive reviews within the Funk/Soul scene and enabled the band to embark upon their first Australian, U.K and European tour that year. The Bamboos live show had evolved by this time into a non-stop 'Live Mix'-style set where each song segued into the next. It was a format influenced by artists such as James Brown and Breakestra and also Lance Ferguson's experience as a DJ. The album title track 'Step It Up' gained visibility with its use in high-rating U.S TV shows Greys Anatomy and Ugly Betty. 2006 also saw The Bamboos record 'The Witch' remix for Tru Thoughts artist The Broken Keys and an Aus/NZ tour as backing/support band for label mates Quantic and Alice Russell. Melbourne vocalist Kylie Auldist officially joined the band full-time in 2006 debuting on stage at Meredith Music Festival for the late night 4am set.
The Bamboos 2007 sophomore album Rawville
, marked a stylistic move towards more vocal-based material and featured vocalists Kylie Auldist (Aust), Tyra Hammond (NZ), Fallon Williams (US/Aust) and hip hop artist Ohmega Watts (US). Of the five instrumentals (which included the popular live staple 'The Witch'), one was recorded at Quantic's Brighton studio in 2006 ('Tongan Steel') live to analog tape. Upon release 'Rawville' was described by UK-based IDJ Magazine
as "arguably the best funk album of the modern era". U.K music promoter/DJ and label owner Adrian Gibson named The Bamboos "the best new Deep Funk band in the world today". The band embarked on another tour that encompassed Australia, U.K and Europe, performing at venues including the Jazz Café in London and countries including Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy and Belgium. Phil Noy had joined the band on Baritone Saxophone at this point, expanding the group to an 8-piece. Kylie Auldist also joined the touring party, and so impressed Tru Thoughts label A&R at the Brighton show that they immediately signed her as a solo artist for the label. In 2007 The Bamboos also performed as the backing band for New Orleans R&B/Funk legend Eddie Bo at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne.
The band's third studio album, 'Side-Stepper'
, was released in 2008. The album maintained a higher proportion of vocal tracks and included several songs heavily influenced by the Northern Soul/Motown sound. The album included contributions from guest vocalists Megan Washington (Australia), Paul Macinnes (Sweden) and TY (UK). Side-Stepper
featured the singles "King of the Rodeo" (The Bamboos first video clip) and "I Can't Help Myself" (Later nominated in the Blues & Roots Work of the Year category in the APRA Awards). Original band member keyboardist Ben Grayson left the band at this point and was replaced by Dustin Mclean. Upon release 'Side-Stepper' received airplay on national youth radio station Triple J, Triple R (Feature Album), PBS 106.7FM (Feature Album), and on Mark Lamarr and Craig Charles's BBC radio shows.The Sunday Age
named it "Album Of The Month" and The Brag and Inpress 'Album Of The Week'. The Bamboos were included in The Age
's "Top 100" list of influential people in Melbourne for 2008. That year The Bamboos also released a live album, Listen! Hear! The Bamboos Live!
, compiled from shows during a week-long residency supporting The Cat Empire at The Metro Theatre in Sydney. During this year The Bamboos also recorded music for the multi-platinum million-selling Nintendo Wii video game, de Blob
The Bamboos fourth album '4' was released by Tru Thoughts in 2010. Of the 12 tracks three were instrumental and the remaining nine featured vocalists Kylie Auldist, Lyrics Born and King Merc (the latter actually Lance Ferguson with vocal processing effects). The album incorporated elements of Psychedelic Rock and soundtrack music into the blend of Funk, Soul and Hip Hop that comprised the sound of the band's earlier albums. It was also the first album to feature a live string section. Kano Hollamby produced the album cover artwork which depicts the band looking out of framed boxes (Hollamby was responsible for all Bamboos album/release art up to this album), and two video clips were produced for the album's opening singles. UK's Blues & Soul Magazine called it 'Simply Stunning' and 'an Instant Classic'. The band embarked on a tour of Australia, U.K and Europe adding Stevie Hesketh (Jet, The Drones) on keyboards, recording BBC Radio Sessions for Craig Charles and performing at venues such as The Barbican (U.K) and La Bellevilloise (France). The song 'On The Sly' was later used in a scene of the hit U.S movie Crazy, Stupid, Love
. 'You Ain't No Good' featured on the U.S TV show Hellcats. In 2010 The Bamboos also appeared on ABC TV's Sunday Arts Show, headlined The St Kilda Festival and performed as the backing band for U.S Soul legends Syl Johnson and Eddie Floyd.
Medicine Man (2012)
In 2012, the band released their fifth studio full-length, entitled Medicine Man
. The album consisted of 12 vocal tracks, featuring Kylie Auldist and guests including Aloe Blacc, Daniel Merriweather, Tim Rogers, Megan Washington, Bobby Flynn and Ella Thompson (the latter who would join the band in the same year to complete the current 9-piece lineup). Current drummer Graeme Pogson replaced Daniel Farrugia in 2011. 'Medicine Man' debuted at #28 on The ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart and #10 on the ARIA Top 20 Australian Albums Chart. The lead single 'I Got Burned' was the band's most commercially successful single to date, gaining crossover success with airplay on commercial stations such as Triple M and Nova, as well as High Rotation status on Triple J ('Most-Played Track' for week ending 24.03.12). It was the 4th Most Added Track on Australian Radio for the week of 19.03.12. The song would later rank at #54 on the Triple J 'Hottest 100' for 2012. It peaked at #14 on the ARIA Australian Singles Chart and #1 on the AIR Independent Singles Chart. 'I Got Burned' also featured in the opening scene of successful Australian TV show House Husbands, and in the U.S movie 'Adoration' starring Naomi Watts. The album's title track featured in an episode of U.S TV show CSI: NY. The band embarked on their largest national tour of Australia in June 2012, including performing in Melbourne at The Corner Hotel over two nights with many of the album's guest vocalists in attendance. Triple J would later broadcast this performance as part of their 'Live At The Wireless' sessions. 'Medicine Man' would go on to receive three ARIA Nominations; Best Independent Album, Best Live Group, and Best Urban Album. It was also a finalist for the AMP Australian Music Prize. In 2012 The Bamboos also performed on the Adam Hills Tonight TV Show and at The AIR Awards, Falls Festival and Homebake. They recorded a cover version of the Rolling Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" for Mojo Magazine (U.K) and released the free four-track EP Live At The Metro
through their Facebook page in November 2012. [1\]