What a kick off for what is to come tonight at the Palace. Rebirth comes out to the stage around 9pm to the packed room at the House of the Blues with an incredible energy that got everyone moving from note one of Walking to New Orleans to the last note of a heavy handed funk fest. The thing about the music of New Orleans is that it is one of the most recognizable sounds in the entire world. It’s that dirty funky jazz that makes you shake, makes you move and takes you to another place.
Simply put, The Rebirth Brass Band is a New Orleans institution. Formed in 1983 by the now infamous Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. Rebirth is committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands while at the same time incorporating modern music into their show. Their signature brand of heavy funk has not only won over several generations of music lovers, it has become the soundtrack to an entire city. In the wake of the sometimes-stringent competition amongst brass bands, Rebirth is the undisputed leader of the pack, and they show no signs of slowing down.
Trombone Shorty is nothing short of a prodigy. An amazing talent. He is also one of those guys that is so under the radar that unless you are in the know of the genre you probably never heard of him. However the guy has played with some serious heavy hitters and Shorty is not even 25 years old. He is rock star but not with a guitar, his axe is a trombone. His mix of funk, jazz and hiphop can get you moving and grooving and that’s exactly what he did at the House of Blues last night. The guy is a nonstop touring machine and has already appeared in Cleveland once this year. Chances are this might be the last chance to ever see a player this good in a venue this small. To say he is on the verge of stardom is an understatement and those in the crowd were jaw dropped amazed at what he brought to the table.
House of Blues was great last night. Quick entry, friendly door, in control bouncers. They just were spot on. The crowd itself was a bit weird but that’s the kind of eclectic group of folks fans of the New Orleans sound will bring out. You had kids with their folks to AARP card carrying members. Everyone young, old and in between was feeling this music dancing and hand clapping and having a good time. I still have to admit my African America sisters can seriously move it and groove it. I was standing in front of one dark princess that could serious vibe to that music. It was funny watching her get down and then looking two girls right of her and watching the white girl wedding shuffle going down full force. It makes me wonder why most dance studios are run by white people. Oh well man I totally digressed there didn’t I?
One odd thing about the crowd though that annoyed me? Drunk people, and lots of them. The thing about a show like this is you have a bunch of people who don’t get out much and when they do they tend to overindulge a bit. I was standing to the side of the stage near the stairs from the restaurant and you would swear those few stairs were an obstacle course for some. Weird sighting of the night? Former disgraced Cleveland golden boy politician Benny Bonanno. It’s just a weird mix of folks and goes to speak on the idea that Cleveland is this full on melting pot of diversity. I am not saying Bonanno is some rock star celebrity or anything but you never know who you are going to bump into out and about in Cleveland. And yes his hair does still look like something crawled on his head and fell asleep.