Hot 8/Chronotic Brass Review

24th February 2019

Monday 11th February was a triumph for Hot 8 Brass Band who got their run of gigs in England off to a raucous start. Chronotic Brass, Durham’s finest, and yet unbeknownst to most of the crowd, delivered a performance enough to rival most professional brass bands out there – and the Newcastle crowd couldn’t get enough of it.

Zach Fox welcomed the Riverside audience as the band played the intro to Bruno Mars’ ‘Finesse’ – a Chronotic favourite. This is a punchy, exciting song which, if anyone’s familiar with the live version, kicks off every show on Bruno Mars’ current tour. For the Durham students in attendance, this song never gets old and was a perfect way to begin the set. Very quickly, those in the audience unfamiliar with Chronotic Brass knew they were in for a small treat – you could see it on their faces. As the band grooved through their set list, any nerves that had originally been present dissipated across the waves of bopping audience members. This was Chronotic Brass’ moment, and they were absolutely smashing it. There were also a few Chronotic alumni on stage who deserve a mention for their 300 mile dedication to the cause, namely Tristan Bacon (on drums) and Daniel Garel (aka Danny G, on tenor) who made tremendous returns. To close their set, much to the disappointment of the audience, Chronotic finished with an all-time favourite, Estelle’s ‘American Boy’ with Hot 8 Brass Band awaiting…

Swaggering onto stage to the sound of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Chameleon’, Hot 8 Brass Band’s main man (and lead trumpet) introduced us to the eight men from New Orleans. Once all eight took to the stage, a cacophony of noise erupted from their instruments sending the crowd into brass ecstasy (and perhaps mild deafness too…). Playing for just under twenty minutes without a break between songs, Hot 8 finally took a breather before playing their most recent song ‘Love will tear us apart’. What was noticeable with Hot 8 was the amount of audience interaction. Their main man was often found chanting to the crowd in the middle of their songs, to which the crowd replied in appropriate fashion. What’s more, despite being predominantly a brass band, use of vocals was often found in their songs which was a welcome addition to their already terrific sound. A particular favourite of mine was ‘Get Up’ which featured high levels of audience interaction. Interestingly, many of their songs were built around one recurring motif which, one may assume, produces a repetitive song. Indeed, the very nature of their music was repetitive but this by no means induced boredom. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The energy these eight men exuded on stage kept the crowd enraptured and the talent on display was mind-blowing – and there’s something profoundly addictive in watching talent of this nature.

In many ways, this gig was somewhat symbolic in light of the two bands that appeared on stage. In one night, we were able to see a plausible future for a band like Chronotic Brass, whose seeds are still so firmly planted in the Durham scene. However, Hot 8 served to show just how far bands like Chronoitc can go. Monday nights antics are also a timely reminder for any budding musician or band out there. Chronotic Brass only got this gig through an opportunistic Facebook message to the organisers at Riverside Newcastle. Had they not asked, they certainly would not have got. Perhaps Monday 11th February will be a significant night in many of Chronotic Brass’ lives.

Reply to this post