The Hot 8 Brass Band
Time & Location
About the Event
New Orleans’ Grammy-nominated Hot 8 Brass Band will be returning to Europe in February 2020 following last year’s funktastic ‘Take Cover’ tour, which celebrated their sixth album of the same name and included sell out dates across the UK including London’s Roundhouse. Wherever they are, Hot 8 channel the unique, undiluted energy of the New Orleans Second Line parades and, as they bring the iconic Mari Gras spirit, this tour will be a bigger party than ever.
Following a festive appearance Live at Maida Vale for Lauren Laverne (BBC 6 Music) and a raucous ‘Hot 8 New Year’ offering on Jools Holland’s New Year’s Eve Hootenanny, Hot 8 Brass Band kicked off 2019 with the release of their widely acclaimed “Take Cover” EP - receiving support from across the BBC, Rolling Stone, John Kennedy (Radio X), Tony Minvielle (Jazz FM) Offbeat Magazine, Huw Stephens (BBC R1/6Music) and Craig Charles (BBC R2/6Music) amongst others - and successful European Take Cover 2019 tour. Their success continued with a Record Store Day release of “Working Together EP” on transparent blue vinyl gaining praise across the board. Speaking of the band’s infectious cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” which features on both releases, the band said; “Sometimes we play it on the streets people dance on a particular spot in the song and we realise that’s what we want to emphasise to be able to give something back to the crowd. In America today it’s so important to bring people together”.
The last few years have been packed full of milestone events – including roof-raising sell out shows at London’s Roundhouse and at the Brighton Dome as part of the Brighton festival – and seen Hot 8 Brass Band reaching out ever further; having celebrated their 20th Anniversary with the ‘Vicennial: 20 Years Of The Hot 8 Brass Band’ album in late 2015, they have toured almost constantly since. Delighting crowds with their rambunctious mix of hip hop, funk and inimitable Big Easy jazz, they have sold out strings of headlines alongside festivals including Glastonbury’s West Holts stage, BST Hyde Park (supporting Mumford & Sons), Madness’ House Of Common, North Sea Jazz, Secret Garden Party and WOMAD. Along the way, they have been invited to tell their remarkable story and play their incendiary music on platforms as diverse as BBC Radio 4, ITV, KCRW, Radio France, and Australia’s ABC News.
“We are privileged to tour and to tell the stories of life in our city, to keep alive the memories of our band members who have passed, as well as all the musicians who have gone before”, says band leader and tuba player Bennie Pete. “We can’t wait to share this new music and party with our fans, who help us to keep pushing ourselves on”.
Mixing an old school street brass approach with funkier currents and hip hop vocals, Hot 8’s magnificent originals are juxtaposed with fresh versions of Joy Division, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, The Specials and Basement Jaxx (and of course their anthemic take on Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, which recently re-launched with a new video that has had 2.5 million YouTube hits).
Always in demand, this year Hot 8 have performed radio sessions including BBC 6Music Morning Show, BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Jazz FM, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC R3; these add to in-depth interviews with Mary Anne Hobbs (6Music) and BBC World Service’s Outlook programme, touching on tragic stories from Hot 8’s history which chimed especially intensely with listeners in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement. The mini-documentary, Hot 8 Brass Band: 20 Years In The Making, has also helped to tell the story of this indefatigable musical and cultural force at a pivotal point in their evolution. Hot 8’s incredible tale, which comes across in their life-affirming and powerful music, has also previously featured in Spike Lee’s two New Orleans documentaries, When The Levees Broke and The Creek Don’t Rise, and David Simon’s HBO series Treme (in which the band played themselves), to add to extensive features across world media.
One of the great New Orleans acts, Hot 8 have pushed on through a barely imaginable series of trials. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the separate deaths of five band members, and the horror of trumpeter Terrell “Burger” Batiste losing his legs, have tested these men almost to breaking point. They honour their lost friends and work towards the future of their community by putting their energies into positive projects at home as well as touring as much as possible. They march together and they play their music, not merely as though, but because their lives depend on it.
Transcending genres and trends, Hot 8 have performed and collaborated with artists from Lauryn Hill and Alice Russell to Mos Def to the Blind Boys of Alabama, and were nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for their second album ‘The Life and Times Of…’. Acclaimed releases ‘Vicennial...’ and ‘On The Spot’ exemplify their ability to honour their city’s musical traditions while forging their own powerful legacy.