Celebrating 20 years together and with a new album called “Vicennial” to promote, the Hot 8 Brass Band are back in their second home of Brighton on this Halloween night.
Signed to Brighton label Tru Thoughts they’ve been playing here for a few years now and always pack a venue out with enthusiastic fans. A band who have lost members due to gun related violence in their home of New Orleans, this is a group who celebrate life through their music and invite us along to the party.
The core of the band is the bass drum, played by Harry ’Swamp Thang’ Cook, alongside Samuel ‘Lil Sammy’ Cyprus on snare drum and cymbals, the equivalent of a bass guitar in a brass band is the sousaphone (basically a tuba that’s easier to play whilst being carried) and this is played with gusto by Bennie ‘Big Peter’ Pete.
The rest of the band is made up of 2 trumpets, 2 trombones and a tenor saxophone, so together is a brash and brassy collage of foot stomping dance music that fans of any genre of music can get into.
The kick things off with “What’s My Name? (Rock With The Hot 8)” which borrows heavily from George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” as well as Snoop Dogg, and from there it’s a non stop party as main vocalist Big Al leads the band and the raucous audience through a Louisiana style party. Original song “Get Up (It’s About To Go Down)” had us all crouching down and bopping up again like we’re working out at a gym, whilst the band dance around on stage, invite people to get up with them and take it in turns to play blistering solos.
Their set always includes some well known cover versions, so they play “I Got Five On It” by Luniz, “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” and “Just My Imagination” both by The Temptations, “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye and “Ghost Town” by The Specials, an apt tune for a New Orleans band still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
They encore with “Rasta Funk”, a nod to Reggae done New Orleans style and that’s the end of this uplifting, sweat soaked, Church revival, call and response dance-athon. Absolutely brilliant.