A Friday night just weeks before Mardi Gras saw the New Orleans bouncing brass boys cruise up north on their nationwide tour to promote their newest release Unlock Your Mind. The band has been gaining increasing fame with their playing and this New York show was a definite highlight as a packed house crowded into the venue; they were thirsty too as the 30 foot+ bar was backed up 5 people deep at times. No doubting that party this night was certainly in full swing.
Opening the show was a New York by way of New Orleans funky collective called Afroskull who tossed out their crunchy soul with a jamband vibe as the tunes flowed long and snake like. Combining with members from the Outer Borough Brass Band the teamed up musicians clicked with their slick sound and percussion fueled breakdowns.
After a short break the Soul Rebels Brass Band had drummers and tuba players on stage to start up the rhythm while horns blared from the back of the venue. A mini parade ensued as the band marched up front playing their apropos cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Living For The City”. With that perfect castoff the band embarked on non-stop get-down fest in which the group continued to blow and beat for over 27 minutes without breaking, a sweaty feat.
Soul Rebels have become incredibly popular by infusing funk, hip-hop, soul and rock into their brass band pedigree; in the live setting the call-backs and teases come fast and furious. Michael Jackson was dipped into numerous times with the funkiest being “I’m Bad” and the classic “Wanna Be Starting Something” workout that had fans singing “Mamma Say, Mamma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa”. The group also tossed out their metal roots after recently sharing the stage with Metallica in San Francisco, by paying tribute to the gods of thunder with “Enter Sandman” via some gnarly saxophone and trombone lines.
The band seemed like they could play for hours more but they wrapped things up with another cover, The Eurhythmics “Sweet Dreams” just another tasty musical morsel that had fans shimmying while things wrapped up. It is impossible to stand still during a Soul Rebels show and the band will hopefully continue to gain more and more fans as they continue to unlock minds (and hips) in 2012.