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Review: Hyde Park Brass - 8/2/20 - Think Tank? Underground, Newcastle

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Review: Hyde Park Brass – 8/2/20 – Think Tank? Underground, Newcastle

12/02/2020

Delivering a night of club classics reimagined by some extremely talented brass musicians, Hyde Park Brass got everyone’s Saturday night off to a flying start…

Before that though, we were treated to a lively acoustic set by County Durham troubadour Conrad Ashton. 

His set  switched between tracks from his 2015 album ‘One for the Road’ and his upcoming release (to follow 2018’s stop-gap single ‘Anna Jean’). An on-the-sleeve reverence of 60s Mod-Rock permeated his performance. Throughout his quick-fire set, Ashton’s assured delivery kept the crowd hooked. 

After a suitably bouncy opener, the room was ready for a brassy main event.

Hyde Park Brass wasted no time in showing how they’ve steadily built a passionate following over the past five years. Kicking things into gear was their interpretation of early 2000s dance smash ‘Lola’s Theme’ by The Shapeshifters. 

Apart from their poor sousaphone player having to stand half on the stage, half out of the door due to the restrictive ceiling height, the rest of the band never stopped shifting. The audience followed their lead right from the off. 

Their early foray into crowd-pleasing club classics continued. Energetic performances of Kevin Lyttle’s ‘Turn Me On’ and Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’, proved very popular on the Think Tank? dancefloor. 

That’s not to say that there wasn’t the odd risk taken with taste. The band themselves acknowledge that Justin Bieber’s evil earworm ‘Sorry’ may rub people the wrong way. But, as they well know by now, whatever people’s opinion of the original may be, their big band version was always going to go down a storm.

It wasn’t all covers – although honourable mentions must go to their sublime brassy takes on Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’ and Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ – there were a couple of their own tunes and some inventive medleys thrown into the mix. 

Aside from a chilled-out interlude to give people a brief breather from the dancefloor, they also performed an original track that showcased their jazz heritage, ‘House Rules’ from their 2019 release ‘Powerhouse’. 

HPB couldn’t stay away from the tried and tested hits for long though. Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy in Love’ and Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’ both made an appearance in the back half of their set. 

They closed the gig on a tune that I have no doubt in the wrong hands would empty a venue. Reel 2 Reel ft. The Mad Stuntman’s ‘I Like to Move It’ (yes, the one from Madagascar). However, they cleverly used this to weave in and out of a number of other covers including rock standards Eye of the Tiger and Seven Nation Army as well as pitting the crowd against each other to the epic strains of Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’. 

If that sounds like too much thrown together as a closer, I can assure you – you’re wrong.

It was a fitting end to a wild show. From what I could gather, left people in the mood to keep the party going out around Newcastle. Based on this show, if you’re after a truly fun music experience, you could do a lot worse than hitting up Hyde Park Brass when they’re local again.

WORDS: JOHN PATTERSON

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