'In this way I shall preserve many things that would otherwise be lost in oblivion. I shall find daily employment for myself, which will save me from indolence and help to keep off the spleen, and I shall lay up a store of entertainment for my after life.'

For James Boswell posts please follow the labels on the right.

This blog mainly contains reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals from 2008 to 2010 which I wrote for the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. These reviews cover everything from comedy to contemporary dance; children's theatre to Handel.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble Review

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Strutting in from the South Side of Chicago, the self-made and refreshingly entrepreneurial brothers of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble will challenge the way you think of brass bands, fusing rap, funk and ska. 

The word ‘unique’ is often bandied about willy-nilly by PR people and reviewers, but the dissonant chords produced by the group do instantly resonate as distinctive. Despite the usual frothy spiel about artistic influence and musical journeys, the music is indeed evocative of inner cities and Chicago; often slightly sinister, grimy or threatening, but also able to paint optimistic scenes of aspiration and excitement in urban America. 

Hypnotic, never missing an opportunity to present their street credentials, are born show men. Naturally and confidently they are able to rouse an initially reluctant audience to fervour, while theatrically mopping their brows and (oh my) peeling their tank tops off in the process. 

As you would expect there is something of a culture shock when Hypnotic set about busting some audiovisual cherries of the Edinburgh crowd. When the front man verbally assaulted the audience: ‘How you doin’ Edinburg!?’ he hollered. Quite unruffled, one native, glancing up from his pint, mumbled ‘fine’. Other communication breakdowns involved translating ‘Yeah yeah’ and ‘Aye’ from Chicago street lingo to broad Scots. 

This brass band is about as far from lederhosen or the Salvation Army as you can get, and much more entertaining. A testosterone charged and original performance.

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