Words + Photos by Frank Ralph

Brass bands are cool. Brass bands that play Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave and Jane’s Addiction tracks are, in my book, incredible.

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9 times out of 10 Facebook’s suggested posts are just wallpaper that get unceremoniously scrolled passed, but seeing one for a brass band playing Cochise as a tribute to Chris Cornell caught my eye – as a massive fan of his – and it blew me away. That was my introduction to Brass Against and I was instantly hooked. So getting the chance to see them live was something I wasn’t going to miss.

On paper it sounds like it shouldn’t work but it really does and impressively so.

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Opening up with Audioslave’s Cochise, Rage’s Bulls On Parade and Tool’s The Pot the band from Brooklyn exploded onto the stage. Liza Colby’s vocals are insane and her energy is infectious. She’s an absolute ball of energy and perfectly captures the flow of Zach De La Rocha. Wearing an anti Trump T-Shirt that translates loosely to something like Donald is a Jack Ass she introduces Beastie Boys Sabotage with a shout of F@*k Trump.

The rhythmical essence of each of the tracks lends itself naturally to being translated through brass instruments and they lose none of the impact of the originals. Incorporating the likes of Run The Jewels’ Nobody Speak into Bullet In The Head is a masterstroke and shows how the band reenergises and reimagines them in a completely new way.

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With Liza deep in the crouched down crowd leading them in the F@*k You’s chorus of Killing in the Name Of two things struck me. Firstly that it’s worrying that the political messages in Rage’s music is still so relevant 25 years after it was written and nothing has changed, and secondly that it’s cool that the same thing can be reinterpreted in such a refreshing way and still have the same impact.

Taking on more contemporary tracks like Royal Blood’s Figure It Out add a fresh take on things but they really shine on an instrumental version of Kashmir and an impressive War Pigs, both of which feature brass led freestyle wig outs that show the power of the instruments and 8 people all locked into the same groove.

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The closing salvo of Guerilla Radio and Wake Up is delivered with as much venom and vitriol as the originals and closes an incredible show.

If you get the chance to see Brass Against take it. I can’t think of many other ways to have as much fun as I did at their show.

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See the full photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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