But You Can’t Run
Young Blood Brass Band
Is That a Riot?
In Stores 10/17/2006
Their myspace says “Sounds Like: Riot Jazz. Post-Hype. Drum Corps Punk. Hiphop/Horn freakout. 5 brass, 3 drummers, a sousaphone and an MC making as much noise as possible” and that’s actually pretty accurate although not really a complete description because it doesn’t give any sense of how satisfying the horn harmonies are (and I have no idea what post-hype means).
I saw them last week at N6 in Williamsburg and they put on the best show I’ve seen all year. Rob Swift and Beans opened…but that didn’t go so well.
Rob Swift was beat juggling really overdone songs like “Rock The Bells” and “Cavern” but the best part was after his “do you want me to go home?” spiel between routines was met with a mixed reaction, he replied “well, there’s about 3-400 of you in here and one of you wants me to go home, I think I’ll keep doing me thing.” Only there was about 100-150 people there and of the 50 that could be bothered to respond (not me) it was probably 35/15.
Beans then performed about 8 songs to track or should I say ipod (including two he stopped halfway through because he was bored of them) . This included doing an entire new song facing the side of the stage bent over at waist with one hand on the mic stand and the other holding the mic…like he was in an alley next to a bar and feeling ill.
Then another DJ came on and played four songs as the YBBB setup. He started well, with “Talk To Me Now” by the The Good People but it got bad quick and the last song he played was “How Do You Want It” by 2pac featuring K-Ci & Jo-Jo. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a place and time for that song (a strip club comes to mind) but that place is so clearly not the beginning of a YBBB show. I couldn’t figure out if the DJ made himself look like an a$$hole or if he made the band look like a$$holes because watching someone pickup a sousaphone doesn’t seem cool while listening to a R&B’ed-out 2pac track. Either way, two thumbs down on him.
When the band finally played it was inspiring. They have two trumpets, two trombones and a tenor sax player across the front and three percussionists and a sousaphone player across the back. The snare drum player is also the MC. MC as in he introduces the songs and band members and also MC as in he rhymes/yells smart political diatribes in the closest approximation of Zach De La Rocha (formerly of Rage Against the Machine) that I’ve seen. It took me a minute to figure exactly what sounds were coming from where because the sousaphone sounded like a bass guitar a lot of the time and the bass drum was so crisp that it sounded like a drum machine. The songs ranged from more straightforward brass band material (they covered songs from their mentors) to angry punk & hip hop to more chilled out love/loss songs all with great horns and (almost) all of it was stellar. There was one song about sexy clavicles and femurs that made me scrunch up my face a bit but there’s room for that. After the show I bought their new album and their last album for $15 each – and that’s after paying to get in so you know it was good!
It was hard to pick which song to post. For how kinetic this track is, it’s actually mid-level intensity for them. You can also hear the first single “Nuclear Summer” on their myspace page as well as a downloadable sampler for “Is That a Riot?” and a live version of “Brooklyn” which is on their 2003 album Center:Level:Roar. That album also has a crazy cover of “Human Nature.”
>> songs are available for two weeks [5.8 MB]