words MITCH RIVET
photos TOMMY PITTENGER
It saddens me how common it is to go to a show where no one is dancing. Too often I show up to a crowd of people standing still and looking completely uninvolved in front of a group going wild right in front of them. Aren’t we as an audience obligated to contribute at least some energy? Isn’t music meant to make us move our bodies?
Thankfully, The Rebirth Brass Band knows how to get the people moving. Although you might not expect to have fun listening to a “brass band,” you should know that Rebirth blends a traditional New Orleans second line sound with some heavy funk that gets the party started. I got down. Hard. Thankfully Eugene’s scores of weirdo hippie dancers (you know, the ones with the super baggy pants, wife beaters, and beanies) as well as some adults showed up, making it a decent crowd to jive with, despite the noticeable lack of fine ladies (my only criterion for “fine” being under 30). That didn’t stop me from dancing all night, as the deep grooves surged through my body along with the sweet and bluesy harmonies put out by the trumpets and saxophones.
While it’s good to know that rebirth can groove, the true reason to check them out is to hear a kind a music you never hear unless you’re in New Orleans. They embody a deep tradition of second line music, which is basically rhythmically intense New Orleans parade/party music — the kind that people go crazy on at Mardi Gras. You could tell these guys were really psyched on what they were doing when they repeatedly yelled, “We won a fucking Grammy y’all. Yeuh!” (They were the 2012 Grammy winner for Best Regional Roots Album.)
This video is a good representation of what they do: http://youtu.be/3E1VBCcA76E
Here is probably their most popular song and my favorite of the night (skip to 4:13 to check out the lyrics: “Can’t you see how much I want to fuck you!”): http://youtu.be/NLdgKIWjtro
If this group ever comes back, be there. Good times.