New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band took over The Arts Club to celebrate 20 years of bumpin’ horns. Getintothis’ Beth Parker reports on an extravagant evening.
For two decades now, the dudes from the Hot 8 Brass Band have been making magic with their special brand of brass. The current UK tour, which ended on Tuesday in London, saw the band make a welcome return to Liverpool after their last foray to Eric’s in 2013. Their melting pot of music, which combines hip hop, jazz, reggae and funk with traditional New Orleans Big Band, guarantees the group will always put on a show-stopping set.
The 8-strong group stormed the stage of the the Arts Club with passion, unleashing a barrage of trumpets, sousaphone, saxophone and tuba, all of which was overshot with smooth, velvety lyrics and accompanying yells from the band and crowd. Within minutes, Hot 8 turned a tame crowd into a perfect hullabaloo.
The set was scattered with the group’s unique and original interpretations of great classics. George Clinton’s Atomic Dog was an outstanding take on a timeless funk standard, with trumpets’ pumping and snares banging, whilst the Temptations‘ Just My Imagination momentarily slowed the band down, as well as the crowd, who gladly crooned along. Other highlights included band’s take on The Specials‘ Ghost Town, and Sexual Healing; a sure crowd-pleaser wherever the lads go, it practically oozed sex appeal.
Perhaps the best moment of the evening had to be Hot 8’s own tune Get Up which, upon the boys’ orders, quite literally had the crowd busting a move low down to the floor. With a sticky groove, deep, mesmeric saxophone and such frenetic lyrics, “Get up/it’s about to go down/Get up/Shake that outta the ground…”, it became almost impossible not to dance.
That Hot 8 play with such hunger and emotion is unsurprising, for these musicians have been through much adversity, including the deaths of three of the band’s members and the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Yet despite such troubles, Monday’s 20th anniversary celebratory gig was one full of high energy and happiness, with the band lovingly dedicating a song to fallen trumpet player, Jacob Johnson.
When the night ended with Rastafunk and a fantastic cover of the legendary Stevie Wonder‘s Master Blaster (Jammin’), it was clear the crowd weren’t ready for them to depart.
The Hot 8 Brass Band are loud, boisterous and truly spectacular. If you’re lucky enough to ever catch them live then heed our advice: buff up your dancing shoes and get ready to shuffle.
Photos by Getintothis’ Andy Sunley.