The mighty Brass Ensemble which has everyone from Mos Def to Gilles Peterson singing their praises played their last gig in their 2007 European tour at Cargo on 15th December.
I don’t think i need to re-iterate my excitement surrounding this gig; having missed Hypnotic once already due to poor timing I was determined that it would not again. As a short re-introduction – the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are an 8 piece band made up of a drummer, four trumpets, a baritone trombone and a very large Sousaphone. This band of brothers has swiftly progressed from Chicago and NYC streetside performances to rocking the dancefloors all over the US and throughout Europe (thanks to the support of a number of key Dj’s).
The early crew was treated to an impressive opening performance from California Dj/MC combo Brother Reade who rapped and scratched their way through a short one hour set to leave a bubbling dancefloor of excited punters (seriously, check out their stuff-it is banging). It was time for Hypnotic to take the stage…with a honk and a roar the ensemble took the stage and promptly kicked off their set with their (sell out) single Mercury.
One of my first impressions after being hit by a wall of horns was that Hypnotic as a band they are an extremely tight unit – the result of years of playing together coupled with countless hours of practice. Breaking this sound into layers – the base of this sound unit is Chris ‘360’ the drummer whom mechanically but subtley keeps the horns in check with ?uestlove-like precision (and a snare which was in my opinion eq’d to perfection- just the right amount of snap). The next layer is all horns made up with bass grooves from the baritone and sousaphone. The last layer is the interwoven pitch perfect harmonies of the four horns who take turns at leading their songs.
In addition to the sonic assault, the ensemble comes with a combined energy- simultaneously swaying from side to side- draws the crowd into each piece with their ‘Hypnotic’ action. Throughout their set I was mainly focused on taking photos and unable to keep a proper set list, but it was comprised of tracks taken from their 2007 album ‘live in NYC’ (buy it here on itunes). The high point of the set was their performance of (their other famous single) War (watch the video here) which had the crowd wanting even more.
Here are a few picks from the extended set of the night…
Chris ‘360’ the one man rhythm section of Hypnotic
After a set which was just long enough for my liking Hypnotic announced their intention to continue drinking and discovering some of the fine ladies of London. A note of mention should also be made for the Part time Heroes Soundsystem which kept the dancefloor rocking to the early hours. Much to my delight I was able to pick up the Hypnotic album ‘live in NYC’ (unavailable in stores!) direct from the band- i’m well stoked to have some material that i can listen to at home as well as throw into my Serato / Ableton sets.
To summarise, December 15th certainly lived up to all my expectations and included an unexpected find in the form of Brother Reade whom i also really enjoyed (i hope to pick up the album as soon as i get back to London).
- The rest of the photos from the night can be found here
- Buy their album from itunes here and from Amazon here