On 16th October something incredible happened at The Kazimier. Three bands, each phenomenal in their own right, joined forces to create one of the best musical nights I have ever experienced. I am, of course, referring to the Youngblood Brass Brand’s gig at the Kaz, supported by Rumjig and WtU (We the Undersigned).
Kicking off the night was Rumjig, a lively four-piece who’s swing/funk vibe got the audience into the party mood from the start. With a no holds barred approach they seemed undaunted by the prospect of being first out of the gate and instead did a sterling job of getting everyone moving and on their feet. Without a doubt one of the most confident and enjoyable support acts I have ever experienced.
Following that strong start, WtU, who set up remarkably quickly (an impressive feat considering there are 12 of them), made the most of the energy already running through the venue by bouncing straight into their first track of the night. Spanning the two tiers of the stage, an interesting fusion of ska, reggae and funk beats filled the Kaz. This, partnered with three tiers of vocals made up of Dawn, Muireann and Collen and rap/poetry from Chairman Meow, led to a wonderfully upbeat performance that succeeded in getting the last of those sitting down up onto their feet and dancing away. By the time their set drew to a close, the anticipation – and perspiration – in the air was palpable, as Youngblood Brass Band approached.
When the ten members of the commonly dubbed “godfathers of riot jazz” took to the stage the Kaz erupted. A 7-piece strong brass section including trumpets, saxophones, trombones and the awe inspiring sight of a sousaphone combined with a traditional drum set split between two guys (including a suspended bass drum) and David Henzie-Skogen leading the troupe on drums and vocals resulted in a performance to remember. I managed to get to the front of the crowd early on in the WtU set and I couldn’t have been more pleased with myself as the final act flew into their first song. I was also lucky enough to be stood directly in front of Charley Wagner and Adam Meckler (both on trumpets) who’s energy and positivity was contagious to those around them. Each song that they played increased the carnival vibe that, by this point, was so enveloping that you felt wrapped up and swept along by it, the whole crowd moving together as one, sweaty, happy mess. Having only ever listened to their material recorded, the translation to live performance exceeded all my expectations. Songs like Brooklyn proved extremely popular and 20 Questions in particular, with its infectiously peppy trumpet sounds and tireless drums. The call to scream “Youngblood Brass Band” every time David screamed “Who are we?”, affirmed the feeling that every crowd member was at once witnessing and contributing to something truly special.
WORDS: Kim Stuart