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The Big Payback

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The Big Payback is an award-winning funk/rock/R&B band featuring the soulful vocals of Leah Isabel Tirado and a smoking horn section. Mixing “ambitious original tunes that challenge even the most talented instrumentalists” (La Crosse Tribune) with classic covers, the band’s live show never fails to get the crowd dancing. With an infectious appeal that cuts across generations, Payback is a party you won’t want to miss.

Animal Brain, the band’s long-awaited second full length album, will be released on November 18. The music covers a wide range of territory, from the energetic soul/pop of “Power to Let Go” to the monolithic jazz/rock instrumental “Mauna Ulu.” The record contains original material by guitarist Kyle Rightley, as well as an up-tempo rendition of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Crosstown Traffic.” Put together, the album’s twelve tracks explore the ever-changing emotions and animal instincts that govern the human brain. 

Listeners are treated to some of the Midwest’s finest musicians. The Payback’s four-piece horn section features prominently throughout Animal Brain. Playing together, they form one cohesive voice. At other times, skillful solos from saxophonist Tony Barba, trumpeter Eric Siereveld, and trombonist Jamie Kember take the spotlight. The commanding yet sensitive vocals of Leah Tirado provide a human grounding. And the whole thing is held together by the band’s award-winning rhythm section, anchored by drummer Joey B. Banks and bassist Jeff Weiss. 

The band burst onto the Madison music scene by winning Isthmus’ Band to Band Combat in 2011. That same year, they released Overture, their debut album, which won three Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs). The Payback won MAMA awards for Best Jazz Performer in 2015 and 2016, and their single “Romeo Knows” became a finalist for Best Jazz Song in 2014. The Big Payback’s infectious sound and high-energy show have made the band a tried-and-true favorite at Madison venues such as the Majestic Theatre, Overture Hall, and Jazz at 5. The group played the prestigious Briggs & Stratton stage at Milwaukee’s Summerfest in 2016.

The Big Payback’s pool of talented musicians can also be heard performing with Youngblood Brass Band, Harmonious Wail, Steely Dane, Gabe Burdulis Trio, Driveway Thriftdwellers, Grupo Candela, and Vic Ferrari’s Symphony on the Rocks. In addition, The Payback proudly teaches, giving performances and delivering master classes at schools and universities throughout the Midwest.

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