13 January 2013

What? Not hot?

Who says Canberra is not hot? The weather’s been record-breaking and there’s a smoke haze outside in the morning as I write this. I caught Cam and Courtney’s Brass Knuckle Brass Band last night and they were steaming from the first notes of the first tune.
I was surprised at just how comfy and ready they were for those first notes. It’s a good sign and I could feel the eagerness around the dance floor. These are all experienced and trained players and they’ve been playing around, including a recent little tour to Melbourne. It shows. This is lively, easy, solid music that’s funky and insinuating and danceable. It was infectious because the band was having a genuinely good time. And it was refreshing in tone, with its horns and pillowy sousa bass and sharp drums and vocals from Courtney and even Cam at times. I stayed for most, but retreated at the end of the set to rest my ears. But it’s a meat-market in Civic on the weekend with the women-who-can’t-walk and the daggie blokes and the accidental disco mix on the street. I prefer the relaxed cauldron of exotic and sober at the Phoenix despite the crush and noise. I expected to hear two other bands, Americans and Brisbanites, doing something related, but I was called back to our street with its own excitement and heat. I arrived to find police and fire brigades and a house lost to fire. This has been a week of heat. Friends out of Yass fearing bushfires; a lost house in our street; the carnal heat of a Canberra summer night. It all feels like an end-of-time experience, but of course it isn’t. Even climate change isn’t threatening an end-of-time; just of civilisation as we know it.

Brass Knuckle Brass Band were Courtney Stark (vocals), Cameron Smith (trumpet, vocals),Tim Bowyer (trumpet), Michael Bailey (trombone), Sophie Chapman (trombone), David Abkiewicz (sousaphone), Nick Combe (baritone sax) and Robert Nesci (drums).

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