It’s safe to say my music tastes are wide-ranging, sporadic and unpredictable. I’ll listen to anything from jazz to classical film scores, Green Day to Elbow, SIA to Bowie.
It should therefore come as no surprise that I have recently fallen for a particular music sound which I don’t think should be as niche as it possibly is.
Funk-Brass. Yes, really. It’s not something you hear every day, but trust me.
It really does mean funky music brought to you through bolshy brass instruments, all trumpets and trombones and booming tubas. Think 80s classics, moern pop and traditional brass band sounds played as loudly as possible by enthusiastic musicians. It’s literally guaranteed to get you smiling and dancing within moments.
My first taste of the Tuba Libres came just last month when I saw them perform outside one of my favourite coffee spots in Southampton. They were advertising their Album Launch and I was so taken by their unique and fun sound, I found myself heading over to join the party in late May.
You might have spotted their cheeky mention in May’s Monthly Musings post.
Let me give you a little background information. The Tuba Libres describe themselves as an ‘award winning horn tooting, boogie shaking and hulk smashing band’. You’ll usually find them performing at festivals and events across (primarily) the south and south east, busting some brassy moves with so much enthusiasm you just want to join in. They’ve just released their own album, and it’s exciting stuff; I’m all for supporting local music and people doing what they love.
I went along to the Tuba Libres Album Launch Party at Southampton’s Talking Heads on Friday 26 May – sadly, no fabulous hashtags to rival that of Susan Boyle’s infamous ‘do (lest we forget, #Susanalbumparty). The night started with two supporting bands, who were a little more jazzy than the main event but were, nonetheless, rather good, and I found myself tapping along to the rhythm very happily indeed. First up were the Outplay Jazz Combo, who did a great job getting the party started, and I particularly loved the hastily-named ‘Charlie Watkins and the funky four’ who I’m pretty sure just hopped on stage spontaneously and did a cracking job.
The smooth and chilled vibe was utterly shattered when the Tuba Libres bounded onto the stage, complete with spiffy bow ties, and succeeded in making my friend jump with their very loud opening number! They launched straight into one of their many fantastic covers, Read All About It. If you haven’t heard your favourite tunes played on trombone, trumpet, saxophone and alike, then you haven’t lived. It’s so much fun.
The Tubas played a great mix of covers, everything from Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time and Pharrell Williams’s Happy to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance and Blackstreet’s No Diggity, as well as some of their own tracks from their brand new album. One standout original tune was a medley of gaming soundtracks called MegaSonic Battle Kombat which I still loved despite not recognising any of the games sampled (sorry!). I also really enjoyed the first track on their album, Wanderlust.
Partway through their show they invited up a couple of the guys from the opening group, Outplay Jazz Combo, to join them, and it was just so good to see them performing together. The Jazz Combo boys did a wicked job keeping up with the energetic Tubas, even having their own solo opportunities.
This kind of music is more than just fun entertainment; each member of the band has their own skills and the music is formulated in a way that everyone gets to shine and show off their talents. Not one member was left out, and the support and respect they all had for each other really shone. They all clearly love what they do and it made for a fantastic performance, and a great night.
These guys seriously gave us one hell of a show, and the fun and joy and confidence that night was infectious; I left the venue and literally shook my generous booty all the way home.
If you fancy a little boisterous brass to brighten your day, these are your guys.
It was also great to go to The Talking Heads in Southampton for the first time; having been a resident of the city for nearly a decade (!) I’ve never been before, but it’s safe to say I’ll be returning very soon to support my local music scene.
They’re also very active on Facebook, so go and check them out, say hello, and watch their videos on the Tuba Libres Facebook page.
I really hope you enjoy their music as much as I do – if you see them live, let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for a great night, Tuba Libres! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of your first album.
Tuba Libres will be performing at a number of events across the South this summer; view their live dates.