Two great sounds that rumble great together were on full display this Friday night as the combination of NOLA funk and Brooklyn hip-hop pounded out of Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl. The Soul Rebels Brass Band were in the middle of their now seemingly annual residency during the winter and invited some new and old friends to join them. A party vibe was on the mind for both fans and players so before the group took the stage Natasha Diggs DJ’ed mid 90’s hip hop to the dancing crowd.
Playing for just over an hour the headliners began their set strong with an instrumental version of Miami Sound Machine’s “Conga”, adding one more city to the mix as the Miami sound bubbled up from Florida. The first guest this evening was the young Kirk Knight who was noticeably excited to be performing in his hometown, amping up the energy from his first moments onstage and bouncing all over it and the venue in general.
The main act took a second to groove things out with a soulful Michael Jackson medley that seemed effortless; the party vibe comes as natural to Soul Rebels as asking someone to scream during one of their jams. Smif-N-Wessun were the next MC’s to come out and prove “this is how they do/all day everyday”. The duo broke out the highlight of the night as they (along with Buckshot) dropped the classic “Bucktown” from their first album in much more aggressive fashion than the smooth album version. The backing brass band really dug into this NYC Hip Hop hidden gem with passion, swinging and blowing with dynamic energy.
Another Michael Jackson instrumental got an airing as “Human Nature” rolled out before Talib Kweli ended the night. While not having the same energy of previous MC’s, Kweli (and a guesting Hi Tek) still managed to keep the party moving with “Get By” and “The Blast” hugely supported by the the seven piece band behind them. With massive horn breaks, smashing drums, sing alongs and head bobbing, the Soul Rebels and all of the various MCs’ sets were short on this night but successful.