Hackney Colliery Band: Live

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Whenever we’re down in the dumps in the Review Corner, we often play Rock With the Hot 8, by The Hot 8 Brass Band, a New Orleans outfit that blend hip-hop, jazz and funk. It’s not brass as you might expect if you’re a fan of Foden’s Band, and nor are there eight of them, but their cover of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing will cheer up even the gloomiest moment.

This London-based outfit are the same, playing tunes from a variety of genres, and not only soul and funk — there’s a good cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box, a Prodigy medley, No Diggity and a cover of Toto’s Africa. You’ve probably seen them and not known it: they played, and backed Madness, in the London Olympics closing ceremony.

Madness are a good comparison: Hackney Colliery Band use brass instruments to make happy dance music and a ska beat never feels too far away. The band is a nine-piece, playing trumpets, trombones, saxophones and sousaphone — this latter instrument provides rhythm rather like a tuba, though there is a drummer. As well as covers, they play their own songs, including the jaunty It’s Normally Bigger.

It’s got a charming air of the ramshackles about it, but they’re clearly good musicians. This is a live show but Steve Pretty, the band’s frontman, told us via a Press release: “The exciting thing about live gigs is that anything can happen. Unfortunately, that means that if I missed a note somewhere, that will now live with me and annoy me forever, but we wanted a really honest portrayal, with no overdubs or excessive production.”

This is not out until May (as we write) but they have no big record deal and pre-orders to hackneycollieryband.co.uk would help them, and you can hear some tracks, too.

Or get down the pit (go to hackneycollieryband.co.uk first though)

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