Review by Hannah Dent with Photos by John Dent

The Hot 8 Brass Band

Tonight at Warwick Arts Centre sees a big brass band double bill, in the form of Grammy nominated The Hot 8 Brass Band all the way from New Orleans along side London’s own Hackney Colliery Band. Both bands have a reputation for awesome live performances.

Hackney Colliery Band

First up are the Hackney Colliery Band. These guys have a fierce live reputation, with BBC Radio 2 marking them as “One of the greatest live bands we have in this country” so no pressure… From the second they took to the stage, it was clear that these guys just ooze energy, but tonight was a difficult crowd to get going. I’m not sure if it was the fact that it was a seated gig, or the fact that the room was barely half full, or most likely both. They played a mix of their own self composed material including “Reawake” penned by trumpeter and lead man Steve Pretty. A track that illustrates fairly well how unique their sound is, they are unmistakably a brass band to look at but you start to hear the drum machines and synths It becomes clear that they are far more contemporary then you might expect, bursting into, and I quote Pretty “Rave Jazz”.

Hackney Colliery Band

Hackney Colliery Band

But it’s the covers they are known best for that get the best reaction from the crowd, “No Diggity” get most of the room up and a good few heading into the aisles for a dance but it The Prodigy Medley of “Jericho/Out of Space/No Good” and their rendition of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” that really gets most of the room moving and singing along.

Hackney_Colliery_Band-1004

In true marching band style, they finish while playing “Africa” and simultaneously walking us all out towards the bar/merch area and finishing off out there…

The Hot 8 Brass Band

After a short interval, giving us just enough time for us to head to the bar and for the minimal stage setup to be changed around, it was then time for The Hot 8 Brass Band. These guys have been on my radar for a while since I heard them whilst listening to one of the obscure late night shows on radio 6. They are currently touring their fifth album “On The Spot” and with a sound that takes that old school New Orleans street brass sound and fuses it with jazz, funk and a smattering of hip hop vocals they too have carved a niche which is their own.

The Hot 8 Brass Band

They bounce on stage and waste no time in getting straight into it with their cover (and when I say cover I really mean their version of…) “Whats My Name” to which everyone is on their feet and mostly with their hands in the air. It stays this way until we are told we can sit down again by the band, I’m not sure why as the energy in the room with everyone up and dancing was great! It’s their bigger covers like “Sexual Healing” that get everyone moving again although everyone seems to enjoy their original material, mostly from the new album too. There are little moments of crowd interaction from the band and a few pockets of people dancing in the aisles and the front of stage but I can’t help feeling that the energy is lost on a room this size which is only half full and I think we would have got more back from the band had it have been a fuller or smaller venue…

The Hot 8 Brass Band

They finish by going all out with “Ghost Town” their version of the Specials classic before leaving the stage to a rapturous applause.

The Hot 8 Brass Band

So tonight we had two bands that appear very similar but sounded massively different, I came already being a Hot 8 fan but left being a fan of the Hackney Colliery Band equally as much.

The Hot 8 Brass Band

I’m not sure we got the best from either of these bands tonight though, I think the whole sitting down thing is just too civilised for music that just wants to make you get up and dance, also the extra space inside Warwick Arts Centre didn’t help either.

The Hot 8 Brass Band

Would I like to see these bands again? Hell yes, they are all insanely talented and their music is ace, so I’d recommend that everyone goes and hears them perform live. But when you do, make sure its in a sweaty packed out room where the energy will literally tear the roof off.

The Hot 8 Brass Band

The Hot 8 Brass Band

See the complete photoset here.

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