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Mardi Gras BB, 02 ABC, glasgow

We almost had two gigs from Mardi Gras BB.

There was the "official" performance, in which the New Orleans brass band tradition infiltrated some imaginary world, part 1930s New York speakeasy, part Marseilles dive, part Weimar Republic intrigue, part Jamaican ska party, part DJ-driven urban jungle. Then there was a fairly generous encore, when brass and percussion took the music into an audience who had been cajoled front of stage with the suggestion that Mardi Gras BB going back home to Mannheim with an image of Scots as people who "dance only in the dark and in the flanks" would be regrettable.

Truth to tell, if the band had gone walkabout earlier, they might have had more action up close sooner as there's nothing like making an audience feel involved to get them, well, involved. And for all the sousaphone bassline mashed with snare and bass drum grooviness, together with brilliantly choreographed, fiery horn power of their essential sound, it wasn't always easy to follow the nine-piece's intentions.

Their frontman, singer-guitarist Jochen Wenz consulted his little black book for Chandler-Runyon-style storylines, the DJ would set a scene varying from broken up spoken word to relaxed jazz quartet and the band would kick into life. A Bolero-playing clarinet would break out of an expertly played rumba. Saxophones riffed mightily against a swinging rhythm. The horns blazed and arced and DJ scratches mixed and matched with tattooing percussion. As a spectacle it had much to admire but the real fun began with the good-time vibe and wildly improvising horns over hugely persuasive riffing that they brought offstage and onto the dance floor.


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