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)

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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