Live Music Review // Hackney Colliery Band

HCB

I like it when a story ends where it began, comes full circle you know. On Saturday 22nd November I went to see The Hackney Colliery Band perform at Cafe INDIEpendent. Now if you have never heard of them they are, well they’re something else, a reinvention of the brass band. A brass band you can dance to.  And I don’t mean dance like old folks waltzing by the bandstand in the park I mean proper, arm-waving, foot-jiving, hair all over the place kind of dancing. The support act were the very talented local band Ramble Gamble, soon to play the Great British Folk Festival. They did a full set of originals (the first time I’ve seen them do this) and they owned it. There was a very loud call for an encore (deservedly so) but they gracefully declined in deference to the act they were supporting. I overheard one person exclaim while they were performing “These are brilliant!”. From the opener Beneath The Water which stands up to any good Decemberists tale, to the raw intensity of Nobody’s Who You Think They Are, the dark irish sounding pound of Tennessee Jack and the sentimentally catchy All I Ever Wanted to name a few. These guys (and girl) have a powerful mix of original songs and I think they’ll do alright. So anyway. The Gamblers finish up, the lights go on everyone wanders back upstairs. “What time are the main act on?” “Dunno” Bit of chat. Sip of the drinks. More chat. The sound of a Trumpet from somewhere. This is how it begins. The trumpet is followed by another and then a trombone, another, a sax. A procession is coming out of the dressing room each joining in playing as they appear. What is that beast that guys playing! Its so big the pipes circle his body and the giant horn part is above his head. Is it a Tuba? I have no idea. And then some drummers. They come up to the cafe, circle, playing all the while and with a pointed finger at the stage beckon us all to come back down and watch. So we do. And they’re just awesome. They’re not dressed up, just a bunch of guys, jeans and t-shirts but their playing isn’t casual, its packed full of energy and talent. Their own compositions are modern and vital. I think their latest release is called A Bit Of Common Decency (check it out see link). Their covers are well chosen and enjoyably diverse. There’s some Kanye, some Adele, and The Prodigy, yeah Outer Space played by a brass band amazing! This is looking like another plaudit for Cafe Indie, who’s list of great gigs is just getting longer and longer. There are ensembles, solos and jazzy parts, some trance sounds played on a tablet, the snare drummer losing his mind (in a good way). They do No Diggety, folks are all jumping around. Each musician has a little bit of their own to play. And you know that beast I mentioned, it was a sousaphone, it was the thrumming bass line throughout, have you ever heard a sousaphone solo? You haven’t lived until you have. They finished up and of course they got an encore. It was heralded by a trumpeter who had snuck to the back and jumped on a chair. They all came back on and brought the house down. And then they’re off the stage into the crowd playing Toto’s Africa. And they’re leading us back upstairs to the cafe. This is definietely one of the coolest gigs I’ve been to I reckon, I would highly recommend you go see them.  And thats where it comes to a glorious end, all of us mixing together playing and clapping and dancing back where we all started. I like it when a story ends where it began, comes full circle you know. Nick

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