This article was originally written by Kristen St. John and appeared on her blog Mostly Music
Five minutes into Sunday night’s performance of The Brass-A-Holics, I was embarrassed. No, scratch that, mortified that I had no idea who this group was when I walked into The Hamilton (@thehamiltondc). I’ll be honest, when their concert was announced, I bought my ticket because…..well, I love brass band music and it would be Carnival/Mardi Gras season. Seriously, I have issues when it comes to decision-making.
So, there I was – up at my perch on the 2nd floor with my friend, Bonnie – munching on some pretzels (which are awesome) just making assumptions on what we were about to hear. Then this happened….
….and I fell in love.
Brass-A-Holics, a relatively “new” Funk-Go Go band from New Orleans, has takeneverything I thought I knew about music coming from the Crescent City and blew it up. I can safely say that every band I’ve seen live (like Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Rebirth Brass Band, Hugh Laurie & the Copper Bottom Brass) is determined to make you dance and sing along. They are pure party bands who have this innate ability to make you fall in love with not only traditional NOLA music (Do Watcha Wanna, St. James Infirmary, 2nd Line), but also everything else, original or covers, that happens to end up on their set list that night.
The best way I could describe their set is Controlled Chaos – and I mean it with the deepest of respects. From the minute they took the stage, Brass-A-Holics had the attention, and hearts, of the packed house. I love how they have no fear of taking chances – we heard classic Chuck Brown (go-go), old school hip hop, 70s rocks, Smells Like Teen Spirit and their original pieces just thrown into a Vitamix and set on high. And, it worked, dammit.
Here is a mash-up to beat all mash-ups where they took Chuck Brown’s Bustin’ Loose, which rolled into Katy Perry’s Roar and THEN freakin’ Lorde’s Royals. WHAT?! I was in complete shock as my head exploded – no way these songs should work – but they did, and it blew everyone out of the water. Here’s the video I made from that LSD-like music trip I experienced. Unfortunately, because I’m a picture/video hoarder, I ran out of memory just as they began Lorde, but you get the insane results.
You couldn’t help but get caught up in the band’s onstage chemistry with each other – and the audience. At one point, they brought up a group that was there for someone’s birthdayto take a picture and serenade the gentleman, and a couple other peoples in the audience, with an awesome version of Happy Birthday (they have actually recorded it and it’s on their new album I Am a Brass-A-Holic)
Needless to say, I am now a HUGE “buy tickets the minute they go on sale” fan – and I will be doing my BAH homework to learn more about their core members – especially, the bad ass Keiko Komaki who’s on the keyboards. She’s awesome to the 9th degree. And, as someone who played piano as a kid, I have to give her extra respect for making it look so damn easy.
For their encore — which I couldn’t record (yes, I will be transferring all the pictures and video from my trips to LA, and the 2 Trombone Shorty concerts I went to last month, before my next concert) – consisted of: Don’t Stop Believing, Living on a Prayer (which had EVERYONE singing the chorus – cause, well, it’s Living on a Prayer), Da Butt and, not to miss an opportunity to blow one more person’s mind, Cassanova. My friends who weren’t there had their phones blowing up as I was sending texts each time the music changed. A West Coast buddy responded, “An instrumental mash-up! Amazing! More Magical than unicorns!” Yes, she hit it right on the head – the Brass-A-Holics are more magical than unicorns.