Show Karma. That is what it is was all about. Show Karma. And by god, we got it!!!
With $30 left in my music budget until midnight, I spent all day Thursday in an intense internal struggle over seeing Rebirth Brass Band & Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk for $35 or seeing South Memphis String Band for $15. Seriously, it is a beautiful thing not having credit cards but sometimes you’re forced on a budget and have to make choices. I know it would have made for a very mellow evening seeing SMSB vs. the boys from NOLA, but I do love Luther Dickinson, so the struggle ensued. However, after being called out by one of my favorite drummers on Facebook: “dump or a string band..um, hello?” I figured the funky drummer had a point.
As I arrived at Highline Ballroom a little before 9pm thinking we were missing the beginning of the show, I see members of the NYC Funk Live group scattered around outside! “Are they playing yet?” “No!” Show Karma 🙂 If that wasn’t good enough, while waiting in line for will call with $30 in my pocket for a $35 show, the gentlemen standing behind me says that he has two tickets for the $30 price. Cash exchange, transaction complete….SHOW KARMAAAA!!!!!! Let the show begin!
Formed in New Orleans in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, The Rebirth Brass Band (RBB) has been a staple on the NY scene for years. More of “an institution,” one friend said, as they had been playing here for over 13 years. Waiting for my beverage, RBB came out singing Ronnie Laws’ “Always There,” as they set themselves up on stage!
The stage went as follows:
Phil Frazier – Tuba
Keith Frazier – Bass Drum
Derek Shezbie – Trumpet
Glen Andrews – Trumpet
Stafford Agee – Trombone
Derrick Tabb – Snare Drum
Vincent Broussard – Saxophone
Chadrick Honroe – Trumpet
Trumpeter, Derrick Shezbie, is a fun one to watch. Or should I say interesting? Or possibly, scary? I am terrified his cheeks are going to pop. As he plays, his cheeks puff up to the size of a grapefruit and he holds down his right cheek with his free hand. Apparently, he is afraid it’s going to pop as well.
At this point, Stafford Agee says “Happy Birthday” to someone on the right of the stage. Little did he know he was really talking to me, as this was the beginning of a weekend long celebration of me turning 30 years old!!! As my friends grinned at the irony and hugged away, a group of 4 lovely woman came up on stage and danced as RBB played “Happy Birthday.”
The Rebirth Brass Band is as well known for keeping with the ways of a traditional brass band as they are for absorbing modern music into their performances. As they rear into a heavy funky cover of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop,” a dancing neighbor leans over and says, “I bet you never have a problem getting up front do you?” HAHA! The Saxophone solo commences! Filling it with their signature brand of heavy funk, RBB also covered Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean.” Listening to these song without lyrics being played by horns and drums was awesome.
Now it was time for a little Drum Line rage. Both drummers, standing on the back line. I LOVED drum lines performances/competitions in high school. My favorite person on stage, the person who my eyes and ears always went back to was Derrick Tabb on the snare drum and cymbals. A massively tall guy, compared to this tiny rager. Standing, with the snare strapped over his shoulder, he beat the hell out of the drum like it was nobody’s business. His face would scrunch up and your insides felt like they should explode when he released his energy on that drum. He slammed away on the cymbals and just enticed me!
It was time to “Shake Your Booty,” a track off on their “Here To Stay” album, which brought everyone to their feet. I look to my right and Ivan Neville is admiring the band as we all are. It’s fun to remember that musicians are fans just as much as we are! “Shake your booty, Shake your booty…” The ladies from the dance party before return to the stage to shake theirs.
At this point, we had pretty much sucked in those around us into our dance party and had made some new friends. Stevie Wonder’s “Just the Two of Us” begins to unfold. It was perfect timing as Meredith was beginning to hand out her NYC Funk Live cards to our new front row friends! Now, this whole time, the venue feels like it is getting hotter and hotter. Over the course of the night, Stafford Agee had unbuttoned a button here and there until the entire shirt was practically ripped open at one point. It was hot! Or they were on fire…you decide 🙂 Towards the end of “Just the Two of Us,” Stafford turned to his left and it completely looked like he was meditating, haha, and he stays like that for a good minute. Stafford, what was that?
This is the time in the night I remember being VERY HAPPY!!! I start getting text messages from my friends scattered around the venue: Kraz just walked in with his guitar. Oh, it’s ON!!!! Eric Krasno of Soulive has entered the building!! It would have been pretty rad to hear his guitar amongst the drums and horns on stage that night, but alas…there were other plans in the works which you will have to read in the next post!!
“All the fine women put your hands up!!!” screams Stafford! “Casanova,” a sexy, seductive song, came blasting out of the horns and pounding out of the drums. I do not think I shall repeat the lyrics! You can look those up yourself! HAHA! Vincent Broussard gave us a solid solo and each horn followed in turn. When Broussard needs to sing, the poor dear has to bend over 2 feet to reach his microphone which is a little lower then most because of his saxophone placement. I can only imagine what his back must feel like after each show! Heating pad please…..
Rebirth Brass Band caped off their night with “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.” YES!!! A song made for horns to play! A song that forces you to lift your feet and clap your hands. I need YOU…YOU…YOU!!!! It was originally popularized by Solomon Burke but it became a favorite of mine when The Blue Brother’s covered it!! There is a great live version of it on The Rolling Stones’ “Live Licks” album.
I NEED YOU..YOU…YOU……but what I really needed was Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk…and that was coming up after break……STAY TUNED!