Review: The Hot 8 Brass Band @ Electric Brixton (London, 26th May 2016)

Welcomed by a packed and doting Electric Brixton, The Hot 8 Brass Band met expectations: larger than life, feel-good and undoubtedly, infectiously groovy.

Before the brassy boy entered, the muso Brixton crowd were well warmed with the reggae delights of the Ragga Twins. From their straight-up Jamaican vibes, to their old school jungle crowd-pleasers, the Twins must still be on the playlist of any South London summer soiree.

Greeted on stage to riotous applause, more love you will rarely find in a venue. Whether it be the band’s turbulent and tragic past or the sheer joyous quality of their unique brand of brass, the Hot 8 did not disappoint their devotees in treating them to a rip-roaring, well-levelled performance. However, I can’t say the Hot 8 were thrilling form start to finish, nor ebbed and flowed as any musical journey should. Whilst the soaring tunes of “What’s My Name” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” easily ascended to the heights previously set by the magnetic New Orleanians, the set was not seamless. At times brass choruses were overstretched, whilst their more hip-hop-infused tracks flattered to deceive the London crowd.

Having said this, what did go down, went down. Undoubtedly falling into this category would be the Hot 8’s stunning cover of Gaye’s “Sexual Healing. Not just an intoxicated singalong, the rendition dripped with the multi-coloured emotions of the band’s history. Channelling all the sentiments of going from boom to bust and back again, The Hot 8 Brass Band had every Tom, Dick and Harry grinning from ear to ear.