Whilst the rest of the nation is witnessing the first historical (or should that be hysterical?) debate between our three ‘glorious’ ‘political’ ‘leaders’ the Hare & Hounds is playing host to a different (and much more enjoyable) brand of insanity in the form of Bavaria’s number one brass/dance/euro pop/mariachi band. Okay, admittedly there aren’t that many Bavarian brass/dance/euro pop/mariachi bands, but even if there were I think you’d have to go some to beat the sheer joyful exuberance of La Brass Banda.
Before all that though is Gurdan Thomas, which sounds a little like a welsh stand up comedian (“Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the comedy stylings of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch's very own Gurdan Thomas!"). It is in fact a group of people, a ‘musical collective’ formed in Brum in 2007 and now seemingly based in Bavaria. Gurdan himself, the lead singer, comes off like a cross between Neil’s Innes (Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) and Hannon (The Divine Comedy) and Mr Stop the Cavalry himself, Jona Lewie. The band’s got a loveably laid back, easy style (part folk, part jazz, part pop) and end up sounding familiar but somehow totally unique at the same time.“Some will live, some will die, horribly and we don’t know why” sang Gurden cheerfully on ‘God is Me’, a crackingly good oompahpah of a tune that’s as neat an encapsulation of the human condition as you’re ever likely to hear. ‘Gurden enough’ to be as winningly off the wall as Misty’s Big Adventure...and that’s high praise indeed.
Next up another Birmingham musical collective (there were thousands of ‘em...well...9...at least...they kept moving about and I find it had to count past 7) Fistful of Dynamite. I don’t recommend carrying around fistfuls of dynamite myself. You’re liable to be shot, blown up or sectioned before you can say jihad. I’ve no hesitation in recommending this particular Fistful of Dynamite though (Cheesy? Moi? Pass the crackers please), the funkiest thing to come out of Brum since Jasper Carrot’s moped. Goddamn it this lot are funky when they get into the groove, some brilliant playing there. Tight as a nun’s chuff. There was plenty of crowd participation too, not something I’m normally down with but they won me over and I ended up shouting ‘Fistful’ and ‘Partaaaaay’ as loud as anyone else in the room. I particularly liked the song about supermarkets (I spend a lot of time in supermarkets...I’m a bastard for the cereal aisle...can’t get enough of it...and don’t get me started on butters and fats...drool) and the aforementioned ‘Fistful!’, with its Stevie Wonder tinged vibe, was a solid gold, hands in the air hip hop classic.
Finally, La Brass Banda, five bare footed Bavarian’s on a mission to brass up your ass (literally at times, thanks to some brave in crowd excursions) with such inventive cover versions as Daft Punk’s ‘Around The World’ (or ‘Around ‘da’ World’ as it was tonight) and Reel to Reel’s ‘I Like to Move It’. It sounds painful right? About as much fun as having your knackers trapped in a car door (trust me ladies, that hurts). But suspend your ‘too cool for school’ attitude for a while there scenesters and you’ll find that it’s all hugely entertaining. In fact I’d actually like to suggest that, along with Gogol Bordello, La Brass Banda are nothing short of the ultimate party band. A musical Bierkeller if you will. Anyone that gets me leaping about these days screaming along to a Bavarian brass version of Salt n Pepa’s ‘Push It’ has to be pretty special. Their ‘Hey Mr Batty Boy, Batty Me Banana’ (performed as their alter egos The Holy Moly Palomy Fist Fucking Band), will also live with me forever...undoubtedly the first and only example of Bavarian Brass Ragga ever heard on planet earth. Phantastisch!