30 days, 30 bands – #12 Renegade Brass Band

12 days in and I think I’ve mentioned this fantastic bunch of ne’er-do-wells at least twice. My usual quip is that they ruined my knees in at least two (2) occasions, but, truth be told, I’d be amazed if they didn’t mess up with anybody else’s knees. You just can’t keep still once they take the stage, with the warm sound of a brass section, the soul of every miner town, and the infectious beats of hip hop.

Yes, Renegade Brass Band is one of those modern brass bands that plays with the old style of the genre, mixing up the traditional identity with newer music. So, although you will find a couple of covers on their live shows, like their tribute to DJ Kool‘s ‘Let me clear my throat’, the real meat in any of their shows is their own creations. Their own tunes are where it’s at and this deserves repeating. Glitchy beats, hip hop and a dash of Latin jazz spice up songs like ‘Take no chances, make no changes’ or ‘Barrio’, with its batucada style intro.

My first time watching their magnificent show was at Peace in the Park 2011, a grand day out with some of the best stuff Sheffield had to offer. I was hooked completely and they were a gateway band to the world of modern brass bands. I would later catch them at Soyo, in one of the best shows the place had. A couple of Tramlines gigs and it was all well and good, archived into the brighter cabinets of that old library I call my memories.

Their debut album, RBB: Rhymes, Beats, and Brass, was eight songs of pure joy. I wasn’t around in Sheffield any longer to see them live debut this one, but watching them steadily go up in appreciation of the general public is a great thing to experience. Heck, they’ve made a jump from the local festival, Tramlines, to the legendary stages of Glastonbury and Soundwave (in Croatia).

After posting a piece on The Legend of 7 Black Tentacles, Vex got in touch, reminding me he’s still busy with MCing in RBB. Wiping the egg off my face for the stupid mistake, I decided to do a quick recap of Renegade Brass Band. 

Hey Vex, how did you get to know Renegade Brass Band?

Me and Matt (Jones – scratches, loops) put Renegade Brass Band on one of their very first gigs. It was at The Harley, with Screaming Maldini. We broke them in, essentially!” 

Where you asked to join? Or did you just come up and “can I roll with you”? 

“I was asked to come down and Mc for them for their first gig at the Tuesday club. Possibly their third or fourth gig. We supported Ms. Dynamite.”

Do you improvise lyrics? Or do you have a lyrics sheet? 
“For the first gig? I had a few verses written. Called them ‘dummy verses’. I sometimes improv at shows, usually on unfinished tracks and rarely when I forget lyrics.
I heard rumours you lot are back in the studio. 
“Yes, for sure an LP. Maybe for the first quarter of 2017!”
Thanks, man! 
So now you know. Even if they only had an EP, an album, and some cool remixes, Renegade Brass Band are still marching harder than you think, with their fantastic brass music rumbling every year stronger than the last. So, while we wait for the new album (and hopefully a visit to Mexico – a guy can dream!), I’ll try and get a better pair of knees.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López
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