We were in two minds about going at all - Sunday night means getting up early for work in the morning, and this was a band we new nothing about other than what we'd read on their website. My usual philosophy though is, if in doubt, do it - better to have tried something and disliked it than not tried and regretted it later. This time, it paid off! It was an excellent gig.
It was as much a show as a musical performance - these guys are very visually oriented, and hyperactive, particularly the girl on tenor! They have a sousaphone with their name painted in the bell, which immediately made me think that the guy couldn't play that instrument in any other band! How many sousaphones and players are there in Scotland anyway? I don't know of any others. There must be some, surely...
A highlight of night was the stand off between the fiddle and sousaphone - naturally, the sousaphone won by putting the fiddle players head in the bell!
There was a lot of jumping about - there was some danger of members of the band hitting the rather low ceiling on that stage (the basement of Oran Mor)!
The music rather defies genre. It's like carnival, street party, latin, Spanish, klezmer, Eastern European and jazz all rolled into one. It's pretty happy music though. They really know how to work the audience - I reckon about 80% of those there were fans already - the floor was empty initially, but the moment the band came on stage everyone in the room flocked to the front and filled the floor. They all got into the swing of it, and did everything the band expected, waltzes, tangos and congas. The players remained in character the whole time. I wonder what they're like off-stage? Some of them were eating yoghurt during the gig - an odd choice for wind players in particular!
Of all the instrumentalists, we were most impressed by the trumpet player - amazing playing! Randomly, one of their percussionists is the spitting image of Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot back in the '70s:
Anyway, definitely worth going if you see these guys on near you - the tour dates are on their website.