I managed to get to this gig, despite being hard hit by man flu, but sadly not in time to see the North Strand Kontra Band, who are generally top notch, and the perfect choice for an event such as this. Nicole Willis was performing as I arrived, and was trying her best despite a rather indifferent crowd who clearly didn’t know who she was. I think it is fair to say that everyone was there for the main event!
The Hot 8 arrived on stage a little after 11, and kicked into a long, wide ranging rendition of songs with barely a break between them, moving and changing from one direct to the next, pulling in strands from all directions. The 8 piece band, two on drums and the rest on various brass, while singing, rapping and otherwise agitating the crowd worked through a variety of soul classics and other songs reworked to their own style. We were directed to throw our hands in the air, move to the left, move to the right and all the other standard hip hop methods of getting a crowd going. They are talented at working a crowd but probably at their best when all belting out on the brass. Their finest moment was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’, which had the place hopping.
The unusual choice of bands means that it’s another brass band today (Saturday 20th Oct), in the form of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, and the bar has been set high for their arrival!
Here are the Hot 8 Brass Band in Paris on Valentine’s day 2009.