i saw the rebirth brass band at martyrs' last friday with my eb and cj. cj and i lived in dc and then she moved to new orleans for two years, and we both moved to chicago around the same time. she obviously feels badly about the state of new orleans (i mean, we all do, but you know what i mean) so she has been forwarding us all info on who we can help and where to bring donations. she heard that they were playing and i went out of more than just curiosity or saddened obligation - i got to see them in new orleans a few years ago and thought that they were really rad.
in fact, i used to write travelogues for my little trips, and i just so happen to have this little snippet from Saturday, May 12, 2001:
"After dinner we went to Tipitina’s, a bar with a stage and plenty of dancing room, to see the Rebirth Brass Band, which Heidi says has a pretty large following. It is a group of about ten men who play a mix of jazz, marching band and hip-hop. They were all rather urban-looking gentlemen, with gold teeth and cornrows and shirts that said Phat Naz-T, but my favorite member was Wayne (at least that’s what his rhinestone-studded headband said) who was all pimped-out in a black suit and sunglasses, whose sole function in the band was to clap and nod. The audience was full of white kids who flailed like ska fans and passed a bowl around, and touchy-feely couples who swayed while holding one another. I just drank Canadian Club with Coke and Amstel Lights to deal, but the band kicked ass."
so it's four years later, they're on tour (that was going to end but now they don't really have a home to go back to), it was a benefit for hurricane victims, and i was more than game. the show sold out and i heard that there was quite a line outside of people really wanting to come in. the show was great - the crowd, not so much. i guess few things change. i will say that the band really wasn't as thugged-out as i remembered (or wrote) and there was, of course, a different kind of celebratory vibe to the show, but they were really great, and i hope that they continue kicking ass.
sidenote: what's with everyone's obsession with maroon 5? are they like a whistle that only dogs can hear, but when i say "dogs" i mean "most of america"? the rebirth brass band even broke out into a maroon 5 song - "this love" or "sweetest good-bye" or "secret" or "she will be loved" or "this good-bye secret will be loved" or whatever it was. i bought that album after one ill-advised viewing of the video for "harder to breathe," and i like that song, but they tricked me into thinking that they were a rock band. the lead singer is even on a song on kanye's new album. remind me to sell that cd on amazon before everyone owns it and i can only get rid of it for two bucks.