Review by David Stone with Photography by Jessica Stone

Preceding themselves with claims of pioneering Brass 2.0, Broken Brass Ensemble arrive with some big shoes to fill.

Strolling into Bristol’s floating-est venue to promote new record With a Vengeance, the eight-piece seemed to be looking to prove two things:

1. Brass bands can be cool, and 2. The boat can – literally – be rocked.

Broken Brass Ensemble

Opening track Quaid set the scene and immediately introduced the touches and direction that sets this band apart from traditional brass. There’s a modern, high-energy feel to their sound and presentation that immediately makes them feel like troupe of rock stars.

Behind all the air kicking, trumpet swinging and aggressively jabbing a trombone at members of the audience, there’s some real substance to Broken Brass. Across a 17-track set, they effortlessly flowed between genres, setting a fast pace and rarely easing up.

Broken Brass Ensemble

Standout tracks included the new album’s hip-hop stomper Brooks and urgent chase-scene epic Spartan, as well as the vocal-fronted blues of Hard Candy.

As if getting the crowd stomping wasn’t enough, the bands ultimate trick for the evening lay in an eagerly announced moment of audience participation. Through a guided back-and-forth of everyone squashing up & running across the dancefloor, the venue swayed – subtly, but definitely, in its mooring.

Broken Brass Ensemble

With that, the band wrapped up the evening, taking a photo with the crowd and delivering an encore ending on classic Broken Brass foot-tapper Peas.

By making big claims about reinventing their niche, these Dutch lads are writing cheques. If they keep this up, there’s no doubt their brass can cash ‘em.

Broken Brass Ensemble

Setlist:
Quaid
Ripley
Sugar Mummy
The Hitchhiker
Loki’s Law
Hard Candy
Rockatansky
Bermuda
Murtaugh
Got the Funk
Cuzco
Dux
The Strange… The Unusual and the Unknown

Spartan
Deckard
Peas

Broken Brass Ensemble

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