Review: Hot 8 Brass Band at Eric's LiverpoolBy Eamonn Lavery
Sunday night saw Eric’s of Mathew Street alive with the sounds of New Orleans as the Hot 8 Brass Band took to the stage on the 4th date of their UK tour. The Hot 8 brought the heat of Louisiana to the chilly Liverpool basement with their own brassy blend of soul, funk, hip-hop and the traditional New Orleans Jazz sound.
Oddly for Liverpool, tickets came in slightly over the odds compared to other dates on the tour - a bit of a trend that's developing to temper new found optimism surrounding the Eric's booking policy. The Hot 8 earned their keep the old fashioned way through sweat, spit and Jazz, constantly mopping at their brows with beach towels between trombone blasts, wailing trumpets and the steady beating of the bass drum.
Within the confines of the Eric’s basement, the band’s raucous stage presence and knack for audience participation ensured that things warmed up quickly. The Hot 8 filled the room with a street party atmosphere that drew the crowd in, and as a band member dropped his trumpet to carry the tip bucket around the crowd, we see that these guys have far from forgotten their street corner marching band roots.
The band’s infectious energy drove them seamlessly through favourites such as ‘Rock with the Hot 8’ from the eponymous 2007 album, and new rabble-rousers from the more recent “Life and Times of the Hot 8 Brass Band” (2012). Their rendition of the Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’ was a definite crowd pleaser, and the deal was sealed with their signature tune, an exuberant take on Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’.
In times when music in the popular stream seems to be ever more polished and overproduced, the likes of the Hot 8 Brass Band represent a real, honest and hard working musical tradition that should be nourished and supported now more than ever.
Words by Hana Eggleston and Mike Common
Picture by Hana Eggleston