Localized Appreesh: The Buttercream Gang

Sweet waves of Buttercream.

Localized Appreesh is our weekly thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com.

The Buttercream Gang is pretty much based on good deeds. That is, the San Francisco-based, Napa-born group initially formed as a loosely defined do-gooder crew (read all about that below) and this week, it does another mitzvah: the band will play a benefit for the San Francisco Food Bank at CELLspace.

The Gang's music is feel-good as well, a playful mix of upbeat sun-soaked California indie pop with jangly guitar, jumpy African inspired percussion, and multi-part harmonies. There's even some sax in there – the ultimate party instrument, at least, according to '80s movies. Sonically, it's somewhat in line with pals (and fellow Localized Appreesh-ers) Waterstrider, and has gained a few worthy comparisons to the likes of Vampire Weekend and others leading the celebrated Afro-pop charge.

So now that you're versed, lick the sugary frosting off your lips, because it's Buttercream Gang time.

Year and location of origin: We formed in a garage in Napa in 2003. We had a different name then and were just a cover band. About a year and a half later we were writing original music and changed our name (for better or for worse) to The Buttercream Gang. Our first show was on New Years, we played Devo’s “Whip It”.

Band name origin: The Buttercream Gang was a movie that our group of friends thought was really funny in high school. We formed our own real life version of The Buttercream Gang and did a couple half-assed good deeds, in imitation of the protagonists of the film. We decided on The Buttercream Gang because, in a weird way, we see playing music as the good deed that we supply to listeners.

Band motto: We make ya move an twist with the flick of a wrist.

Description of sound in 10 words or less: Infantile adults dancing aimlessly to the sounds of the world.

Instrumentation: Pete Davies, Bobby Renz, Robinson Kuntz, and added to the band in 2011 for our album release were Max Bonick and Alex Garcia. We are all multi-instrumentalists and rotate around drums, guitars, bass, organ, keys, percussion, vocals, saxophone.

Most recent release: Our third full length album, Polite Men. Working towards releasing new material by the end of summer.

Best part about life as a Bay Area band: There are many good bands to be inspired by.

Worst part about life as a Bay Area band: Getting noticed amongst so many good bands.

First album ever purchased: Pete: Kris Kross - Totally Krossed Out; Bob: Green Day - Dookie cassette tape; Robinson: MC Hammer - Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em; Max - Beastie Boys - License to Ill.
Most recent album purchased/downloaded: Pete: Tanlines - Mixed Emotions; Bob: Chantells - Waiting in the Park ; Rob: Wye Oak - Civilian ; Max: Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Rip, Rig, Panic.

Favorite local eatery and dish: Pete: French Laundry; Bob & Robinson: San Tung’s Dry Fried Chicken Wings; Max: The pastor burritos from Tacos Labamba in Sonoma
Vupes, Vulpes – a Silverfox Concert for Good
With the Buttercream Gang, Mahgeetah, Sun Life
Thu/12, 7pm, Use the code "SFBG" for $20 entry (50% off),
includes open bar
2050 Bryant, SF

And just for kicks, here's some clips from the direct-to-video movie that inspired the band name:

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