In 2017, ESSO made their SXSW debut in Austin, TX to industry insiders and cultural ambassadors performing for grassroots organizations and cultural showcases. They also made their international debut in April by touring through México and playing the prestigious Festival Cultural in Zacatecas headlining the festival on a Friday night. In July they would be tapped to open for their biggest audience yet, an opening slot for Mexico's Cafe Tacvba at Chicago's biggest outdoor stage, the Petrillo Music Shell during the Taste of Chicago to a sold out capacity crowd.
With a West Coast/Southwest US summer tour completed by September 2017, the busy group released their sophomore full length studio album in their hometown Chicago. The new album "Juntos" was a critical success for the band as it was reviewed by publications across the US, Europe, and even highlighted on National Public Radio's (NPR) "Songs We Love" feature highlighting the band's collaborative song "Mi Gente" (featuring Rebel Diaz, AQ, Rojo Cordova) about people from all backgrounds and cultures facing daily socioeconomic challenges to find solidarity with one another through shared experiences and music.
Now back from their second tour through Mexico in early 2018, ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat are set for a busy year in the states and abroad behind 2017's "Juntos" (Sonic Octopus Records). The busy band balance their time on the road with select appearances in their home city of Chicago, while collaborating with national and local organizations to perform for social justice programs and community events around the US. Their touring schedule will continue to bring their contagious energy and sounds to premier music venues and festivals across the Americas in the new year.
By 2016, the band was named "Best New Band" and "Best International/World Music Act" by the revered Chicago Reader's annual readers poll. They followed by releasing a free downloadable remix album entitled "Pueblo Unido," a full length album collaboration with their local community of music producers and DJs featuring guests reworking their original material. They followed the release with a tour through the Midwest and East Coast, performing in new cities and boosting their national visibility.
ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat came to life in late 2013, drawing from the members' shared love of dance, soul, and high energy music. Earning their start as the house band for a live music night in downtown Chicago, the rotating members collaborated live onstage until a solid foundation assembled. With a growing setlist of original material, co-founders and songwriters Armando Pérez and Kevin Miller recorded and released their first original recordings an online EP mixtape in 2014 via Belmont Electric Studios.
Catching the attention of tastemakers, promoters, and booking agents, they began to play bigger venues and festival stages opening for national and international touring acts alike. Continuing to write and record, they recorded and self-released their eponymous full length album on Pérez' newly founded Sonic Octopus Recordings imprint in 2015. With their first LP in hand, the band toured through the Midwest to New Orleans and back garnering local and national attention.