If you’ve never heard a brass band before then this Saturday the Artful Dodger has a real treat in store. It’s no secret that people love brass instruments and other horns. We’ve all seen it before, any time the keyboardist of an indie rock band brings out their old student trumpet or saxophone to doot a quick melody line at the end of a swingy folk-pop tune everyone loses their minds. Maybe it’s a way of harkening back to the days we may or may not have been in school band, and a pinprick or nostalgia for a time gone by. Maybe it’s the mystique and intrigue of instruments that no one (and yet, somehow everyone) really plays. Whatever the reason is that we love horns, one thing is for certain — it’s time for us to hear more. It’s time for us to hear The Dirty Catfish Brass Band.
The Dirty Catfish Brass Band is a nine-piece New Orleans style brass band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. A well-educated band with a total of 11 degrees between them, this isn’t your average group. When it comes to horns, these guys mean business — and yet, they’re still a wild party. The New Orleans Brass Band tradition is built around a marching band style that is still used to literally parade the streets of New Orleans for funerals and any other reason you might have to party. Typical instrumentation includes trumpets, trombones, marching-style drumming, sousaphones, and saxophones. The DCBB brings that sound to the stage with full drum kit, keyboards, and about as many of those horns as they can fit on stage.
Furthermore, these aren’t your average players. These university-trained musicians are virtuosic in their skill and judicious with their taste. Don’t take that too seriously though, all that skill culminates in some of the most fun, exhilarating tunes you’ve ever heard. Their most recent release, Big Shiny Brass, is a six-song cover EP featuring top 40 hits from the likes of Walk The Moon and Taylor Swift.
List to their version of “Shake it Off” here.
It’s all too tempting for a group like this to take a pop tune of this magnitude and pretty much just… play it. With little variation. People will clap and dance because they know the song and the band can cross the pop tune off the setlist for the night and get on to their original or traditional tunes. But the DCBB is better than that. They go above and beyond with their arrangements, using their full musical might to bring these songs to life in a New Orleans style.
Live, you can expect all the flash and precision of the recording, with a real-time, raw energy of improvisation and expression. If you’re lucky, you might even see them get off the stage and march. This is a group everyone will love, and a show no one should miss. This Saturday, the Dirty Catfish Brass Band will be parading into the Artful Dodger, and if you’re there, into your heart.