The Black Pumas Return To Houston

The Black Pumas graced the House of Blues stage Saturday night.
The Black Pumas graced the House of Blues stage Saturday night. Photo by Marco Torres
The Black Pumas exploded on the music scene in 2019 with their debut album of the same name racking up two Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Best American Roots Performance. The Austin-based band, led by singer Eric Burton and guitarist Adrian Quesada, met in 2018 and within hours were already recording the album that would later get them national recognition, awards, and multiple sold-out tour dates.

After receiving so much fanfare from their debut, most artists would focus on the next step of creating a follow-up to capitalize on the success. The Black Pumas did the exact opposite, releasing a statement via Instagram in 2022 that they were stopping touring for the rest of the year. The group pulled out of shows and festivals citing “unforeseen circumstances” and went quiet.

The group reappeared in October with the release of their highly anticipated sophomore album, Chronicles of a Diamond. There are many reasons why the new band could have decided to slow down, especially with the first few years of the band’s hectic touring schedule marred by the pandemic. Regardless, the band never really revealed the reasons why leaving fans speculating whether they would ever return.

This last November Quesada told the Dallas Morning News “I’m glad we paused when we did, because we could have potentially imploded” later saying “This time around we had to live up to other people’s expectations as well as our own.”
click to enlarge
Quesada looks over the crowd
Photo by Marco Torres
The expectations were high but quickly met with the opening chords of The Black Pumas' show at the House of Blues Saturday night. The sold-out show was the first of two happening this weekend and fans weren’t disappointed as the band stood on stage bathed in bright light and backed by the images of two large pumas with exposed, glittering, diamond-like teeth.

Dressed simply in shorts, a button-down shirt and a black beanie, Burton looked across the packed house and smiled as the stage lights rose again.

“So, we been having a blast and it’s been a while since we’ve been on tour in Houston,” he smiled as the audience cheered. “I want to try a little something out. Everyone follow me.”

The singer quickly lifted his hand and began directing the crowd in the vocal exercise much like a school music teacher. As the call and response got louder and louder the stages lights shined with more intensity before finally cutting completely out as guitar riffs filled the room.
click to enlarge
Eric Burton smiles at the sold-out audience.
Photo by Marco Torres
The Black Pumas'  return to the stage Saturday night electrified the fans as they performed tracks from their latest offering as well as their debut album. Their newer tracks like “Angel,” “Mrs. Postman” and “Sauvignon” carried the night, but the band still made sure to go through hits from their debut album including “Fire” and “Know You Better.”

The Black Pumas' return to the stage is just as satisfying as their return to making music. Their show Saturday night at the House of Blues is, luckily, the first of two so Houstonians who may have missed the first still have a chance to see them live.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Houston Press contributor DeVaughn Douglas is a freelance writer, blogger, and podcaster. He is 1/2 of the In My Humble Opinion Podcast and 1/1 of the Sleep and Procrastination Society. (That last one isn't a podcast; he just procrastinates and sleeps a lot.)