Fine Arts Review

Jess Cox
The Hot 8 Brass Band will perform Friday at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theater. (Courtesy of James Singleton)

It’s common knowledge that the devastation of New Orleans has been the center of much cultural and political controversy in the past six months. It’s also no surprise that the city still has a long way to go.

But for now, New Orleans is crooning to a new tune, one provided by its own nine-member Hot 8 Brass Band, who will perform this Friday at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theater in conjunction with the charity Save Our Brass. New Orleans’ newest band is helping to drown out the sound of tragedy with their rich Southern music.

Save Our Brass was created by the members of Hot 8 Brass following Hurricane Katrina with the goal of revitalizing brass bands in New Orleans. Although the revival of New Orleans’ brass bands is the main focus, the foundation has purposes beyond Hurricane Katrina relief, such as creating educational opportunities for the city’s youth.

The city struggles to repair itself and rebuild homes. But Save Our Brass remains a vital contributor in helping to keep the cultural traditions of New Orleans alive. The foundation also creates job opportunities and gives New Orleans a positive, enduring image to display to the outside world.

Hot 8 Brass is not only helping to salvage their city and its musicians, but they are also gracing the rest of the country with a lineup consisting solely of horns. Their sound is raw and blasting, promising a high-energy show.

Formed in 1995, the group was created by the merging of two different brass bands, Looney Tunes and High Steppers.

Judging from the tracks off the group’s newly released and highly acclaimed album, Rock with the Hot 8, unhindered funk, R&B and jazz can be expected. On their website, Arts at Michigan describes the band as having “a secret sound woven deep between the washed-away communities and homes and families – for generations moving across these once beautiful streets- and just like that, all of it gone.”

Hot 8 brims with optimism and is more than ready to rock the nation as well as restore their city’s spirit after the catastrophic events of the last few months.

For 10 years Hot 8 Brass have performed in parades, festivals, urban juke joints and clubs in the Deep South. Despite going on tour, they are familiar faces in the city, performing at Second Line parades that regularly take place throughout inner-city New Orleans on Sundays, and are an important tradition for residents.

The brass band sound is more than just music for the people who once walked the streets of New Orleans; it’s a fundamental backbone of the culture and style of the city Hot 8 Brass Band is working so passionately to recover.

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