By Gregory Heller
I’m pretty sure the first time I saw the Rebirth Brass Band was at the Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans, in 2008. But having traveled to the Crescent City many times in the last two decades, I could have seen this musical institution in the French Quarter, or maybe at the Maple Leaf, where they have a regular gig, those earlier memories obscured in a swirl of bourbon and Abita.
The sound of Rebirth is the sound of New Orleans – loud, full of energy, a mix of styles from traditional street brass band to funk and hip-hop, and a little bit dirty. You might wonder if it translates. In other words, can you take Rebirth and their sound out of New Orleans? Any fan of HBO’s hit series Treme knows the answer. Yes, absolutely yes.
Walk into a Rebirth show, like I did at the Sunset Tavern in November 2013, and it’s like you’ve walked through the doors of the Maple Leaf in New Orleans’ Uptown neighborhood. Blaring horns, a kicking beat on a big marching bass drum, and the call-and-response vocals – you can’t help but get in the groove. I took my parents to that show, fresh off the plane from New York, and they loved every minute of it. Rebirth delivers an amazing show time and time and time again. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
The Rebirth Brass Band perform at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle on March 5. Tickets for this KEXP-approved show are still available.