This weekend, a breezy early September night on the Lower Greenville strip hummed and glowed with Dallas' end of summer relief. It's finally getting to the point where the temperature is actually dropping, if just a few degrees, after dark. The idea of stepping out for a patio drink and some live music is becoming more appealing, and more comfortable as we approach the fall months. The right show on the right night can leave you feeling refreshed and inspirited for days afterwards. Like you have shaken off all the stressors and unfun bullshit of your day to day life, and let yourself go for a little bit. Rebirth Brass Band brought us all that and more this Saturday at The Granada Theater, throwing one of the livest parties this city has seen all summer long.
Jam band Gravity Feed played as the crowd began to steadily trickle in, but they were slightly stiff compared what would follow. Local favorites and 2013 High Times Magazine Doobie Award winners, The Effinays, were a lively and fitting opener for the main event. While cohesive- their set is made up from a song from each of the genres they pull from- sultry Latin groove, followed by a funk-guitar freakout, followed by a reggae hip-swinger. What really set The Effinays apart is their showmanship and ability to rile up an audience. The banter is funny, the drum solo flip on "Niggas in Paris" is exciting, the acted out death and subsequent resurrection of saxophone player Julian "King" Ayacannoo was a playful romp.
When Rebirth hit the stage, things got serious. Those first few booming notes of the horns started in and the bass drum began to pop. The faint scent of rolled weed being sneak passed through the crowd loosened up the audience in preparation for the next 90 minutes they would spend up on their feet.
Typically when you're talking New Orleans jazz, the average music fan might think of the city's more conservative side -- a more French Quarter kind of crowd. Rebirth Brass Band does not have that kind of crowd. Their hometown residency in the Carrollton/Uptown neighborhood represents an edgier side of New Orleans' legendary jazz scene. Blending elements of funk and hip-hop into traditional brass band music, Rebirth is notorious for a live show that will test your stamina harder than a night at one of the city's best rap DJ weeklies. You will roll your hips, you will bounce that ass, you will throw your hands in the air, you will wave them like you do not care.
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The set started strong with fan favorites off 2011's Grammy winning The Rebirth of New Orleans. "I Like It Like That" and "Do It Again" were sure fire crowd pleasers. The latter had the crowd chanting at the top of their lungs, "We used to say who dat! But now we say we dat!"
As the band worked into their 30-year spanning catalog, the crowd went nuts for signature hits like "Feel Like Funkin It Up". America fell in love with the title track of their 1989 classic LP again in recent years, after Rebirth performed it in the opening scene of the pilot for HBO's Treme. They singlehandedly turned LeVert's 80's R&B hit "Casanova" into a brass band staple when they recorded a cover on 2001's near perfect album, Hot Venom. As the turning point in any Rebirth show -- their version's fun, sexy, and frankly pretty raunchy lyrics seduced the audience into a winding and grinding frenzy. Again, this is definitely not your conservative New Orleans jazz crowd.
After a finale of "When the Saints Go Marching In," we were released back out under the Granada's illuminated marquee to meet and greet with the always-friendly members of the band. Endorphins pumping, spirits lifted, and toes numb from two stepping- we took home new memories of a beautiful and exhilarating live show. Dallas is sure to remember this intoxicatingly fun night of September.