Watching The Hot 8 Brass Band was always going to make for one hot night – for starters, they have the word ‘hot’ in their name. But not only that, the night was a more-than-balmy 30 degrees and the band pride themselves on their pumping New Orleans-style sound. True to their name, the energy and thermostat were so high it truly felt like a hot, sticky New Orleans summer night at the Coburg Town Hall for their show for the Brunswick Music Festival.
The Hot 8 Brass Band hail from the great city of New Orleans and have been sharing their heart and soul through music for over 20 years. Originally gaining fame by playing for funerals and community parades, they have mushroomed into one of the most recognised and celebrated brass bands to come from New Orleans.
The show was part of their first-ever Australian tour, and it was evident that they were determined to bring it in with a bang. ‘Engaging’ doesn’t even begin to describe the band’s performance – they brought their stage presence to the next level and a joyfully rowdy crowd enthusiastically accepted it. ‘Big sound from big boys’ was how my plus one described their infectious drive as they treated the crowd to their own infusion of traditional New Orleans brass with funk and hip-hop flavours.
You could feel the excitement in the room reach a new level when they played the track that I imagine everyone had been waiting for, their rendition of Martin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’, which they appropriately dedicated to all the ladies in the room. Soon after they had everyone waving their hands back and forth for ‘What’s My Name?’ The super funky cover of The Temptations’ ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’ was a massive hit, but my personal favourite was attempting to get as low down as I could with entire crowd and then get up even faster to the appropriately named ‘Get Up’. I’m shocked I didn’t pull a hamstring in the process.
One of the best parts of the performance was that you could really feel the New Orleans culture shine through. And if I didn’t want to visit New Orleans enough beforehand, the desire is pretty much unbearable now.
Dotti (Nicole) Mazga is a law student currently learning how to make the world a better place in Melbourne. When she’s not hitting the books, you can find her consuming any theatre, dance, or space-related event she can get her hands on.