Houston Music

Keeping It Fresh: Buenos Diaz Celebrates Release Of Live At Bobo's

Buenos Diaz will be celebrating the release of Live At Bobo's with a performance at Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge.
Buenos Diaz will be celebrating the release of Live At Bobo's with a performance at Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge. Photo By Jaycee Grover
It can be hard to keep things fresh as an artist but Houston-born and Austin-based Nick Diaz frequently proves that he is capable of just that. Diaz has released a steady roll of singles and videos throughout the pandemic with his band, Buenos Diaz.
Buenos Diaz will be celebrating the release of Live At Bobo’s, a seven song video featuring the full band on October 14. They will be marking the occasion with a performance at Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge making it the second performance of his new monthly residency in one of Houston’s funkiest bars.

“I love playing there. It’s such a cool little room,” says Diaz, who was the first official show at Big Top since they reopened following the lock down. Last month, Diaz played a solo show with special guest and Houston friend The Mighty Orq.

He plans on having his band join him for his October and November dates but is keeping his options open for December as in true Diaz fashion, he intends to keep mixing it up. Diaz is already a member of the Continental Club family in Austin and is excited to join the community in his hometown.

Diaz grew up in Houston and learned the ropes in music while sneaking into many of the city’s long gone blues clubs in the ‘90s. Diaz laughs as he remembers someone handing him a napkin after the infamous wildman of the blues, Little Joe Washington picked up his Sratacaster and licked it up and down in the long gone Silky’s Blues Bar.

“That’s kind of how I learned. Just going to check it all out and hanging out with older musicians. Stevie Ray Vaughan was still such a huge influence on the scene in Texas and I loved his playing and I loved everything he did, but I already had some foresight that I didn't want to get stuck doing that even though I loved it.”

Diaz’s inkling led him to New Orleans, New York and San Francisco but eventually he settled back in Texas and made Austin his home with the goal of creating a home and launching pad for Buenos Diaz.

“I was checking out all kinds of stuff and I think that's probably why I just knew I didn't want to just stick to the blues. I love it and it's definitely part of my music, there's undertones for sure, but for me it gets a little limiting sometimes.”

“I was checking out all kinds of stuff and I think that's probably why I just knew I didn't want to just stick to the blues. I love it and it's definitely part of my music, there's undertones for sure, but for me it gets a little limiting sometimes."

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Austin has proved to be a fruitful home for Diaz and his music where he has been featured on KUTX, performed as an official SXSW performer, held down multiple residencies and landed a gig as the guitarist to Texas legend, Alejandro Escovedo.

“We have a really great chemistry,” he says of playing with Escovedo, who recently released La Cruzada, a Spanish version of his previous album The Crossing.

Diaz describes how almost 20 years ago an old professor suggested he try to work with Escovedo. Many years later, Diaz serendipitously was offered the opportunity to play with Escovedo through an old friend and has been holding it down as part of his band since 2017.

When asked about the obvious similarities as two Mexican Americans making music in Texas, Diaz says, “I’ve heard him tell so many stories about all the speed bumps he had to face in his life and I think it's easier for me, but sometimes I think I still see those things myself.”

Watching Live At Bobo’s it’s easy to see why Diaz was picked to play with Escovedo as the footage shows off his impressive guitar skills and ability to move between a flowing riff to a rougher, fiery solo.

Live At Bobo’s highlights where Diaz and his band shine the brightest with their dreamy rock and roll songs and powerful live performances with each band member.

“I feel like the recordings are great, even the music videos are great but every time anyone gets to see the band live, that's how we really pull them in because it’s a powerful show. It’s rock and roll in front of you, it's like the good kind of loud,” he says proudly.

Diaz saw this recording as his chance to document his band properly and give fans a real, raw live experience from the comfort of their own homes.

“That’s like pulling back the curtain because we did that all live. There’s no tricks,” he says. Luckily, Buenos Diaz proves that they do not need any “tricks” in Live At Bobo’s as Diaz’s soothing vocals and lyrics bounce perfectly off the band's instrumentation.

Live At Bobo’s was recorded in June, when gigs were already firing back up in Austin but Diaz and his band hadn’t yet had many opportunities to play together again. They performed that day to a small, ten person crowd and sipped wine adding to the relaxed and joyful vibe of the performance.

“Maybe that's why I was excited to get that live video footage. We haven’t played in a year and half and I want to really put it all together and focus on the live band,” he says.

Live At Bobo’s also carries a sentimental back story and created a full circle moment for Diaz and videographer Kate Marie Hellenbeck who shot the video. The two had previously worked together at Snack Bar Austin, which later shut down and relocated to become Bobo’s Snack Bar.

While working at the Snack Bar and pursuing their dreams, both artists became friends and later collaborators as Hellenbeck has directed all of Buenos Diaz’s music videos. Diaz credits the Snack Bar with allowing him not only the flexibility to make money while pursuing his dream, but also a place to play.

“I played there solo for like four years and it was a really big help in me getting Buenos Diaz off the ground in Austin because I had a place to play and work on the songs,” he says.

Diaz and his band mates considered each other their “Apocalypse Team” as they maintained connections throughout the shut down and continued to work on creative projects together. Diaz is frequently writing new material and plans on releasing a new full album sometime next year.

“I’m always trying to be on top of keeping everything fresh,” says Diaz of his constant state of creating and the benefits it can have on the whole band as sometimes musicians can get “burned out” and playing an identical set year after year.

“People get tired of playing the same stuff creatively so in my mind, I can keep these really stellar musicians around me by keeping the content fresh for all of us and that keeps us on our toes. There’s always something new we gotta learn, something just keeps the mind clicking.”

“I’ve noticed with really high power musicians that it’s important to keep those nuts and bolts moving for the creative juices flowing. I think about the band a lot. I think I'm in a unique place because I've done so much side guy work that I understand that world. I've been in good situations and bad situations and I do my best to make working in Buenos Diaz as easy, as fluid and comfortable for anyone that comes to work with me.”

Buenos Diaz will perform on Thursday, October 14 at Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge, 3714 Main, Music starts at 9 p.m., $5.
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Gladys Fuentes is a first generation Houstonian whose obsession with music began with being glued to KLDE oldies on the radio as a young girl. She is a freelance music writer for the Houston Press, contributing articles since early 2017.
Contact: Gladys Fuentes