At this point, New York City (and particularly the fantastic Brooklyn Bowl) is a second home to the New Orleans-based Soul Rebels Brass Band. The group came into town last weekend and sold out three nights in a row, bringing the Southern hot funk to the freezing North with style while also paying homage to this town’s biggest hip-hop artists.
The other nights of the run saw a parade of guests (mostly MC’s) to augment the band’s instrumental brass sound, but on the final night of their stand on Saturday March 4th, the band kept the guests away playing originals and a bunch of covers. One of those opened the night as the Gloria Estefan led Miami Sound Machine’s “Conga” blared out and got the noticeably young crowd dancing.
The eight-piece brass and drum combo promised a night of hip-hop covers and the first to bubble out was the Nas and Lauryn Hill duet “If I Ruled The World”. No singers were needed on this one as the house provided vocals, especially all of the females in attendance singing Miss Hill’s parts. The trombones from Corey Peyton and Paul Robertson lead the way on that number while “Doo-Wop (That Thing)” brought out the full on soul from the tight musicians.
The group’s own “Turn It Up” kept the party moving with its smooth parts before “You Can Hate Me Now” flowed out, complete with a killer saxophone solo from Erion Williams. The hip-hop kept bumping as the drummers Derrick Moss and Lumar LeBlanc took front stage for their twist on Notorious B.I.G’s “Juicy” which found LeBlanc contributing lyrics of his own in front of slow horn builds.
The group finished up their set by playing their covers of another of Brooklyn’s own Jay-Z via dips into various songs including “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” and “Holy Grail”. The dynamite trumpets of Julian Gosin and Marcus Hubbard led the way with cascading runs all the while sousaphone player Edward Lee Jr. kept the beat moving and asses shaking. An encore of the players’ “504” found Robertson blowing his trombone in the middle of the crowd to end another fantastic Northern residency for the band, until their next.