“We’re a cult–no we’re a team!”
“We’re a cult–no we’re a team!”
NO BS! Brass Band trombone player Reggie Pace claims as he sits across from me with his iPhone in hand not realizing the level of intrigue he has from me. He, along with the jazz collective of other brass maestros have, become staples of music in the Richmond area with their unmatched funkadelic sound, raw energy, and instrumentals that you can’t help but dance to.
And with national attention, their new album Brass Knuckles, is a call to action for the public to stay strong and upbeat no matter what’s going on around them.
Since 2006, NO BS! Brass Band has made a name for themselves with their 11-piece brass instrument players and never fail to get a crowd hyped and out of their seats whether they’re performing at a bar, festival, NPR program, TV Show, or other venue.
From performing with big artists like Sufjan Stevens, touring with Bon Iver, mentions from Jimmy Fallon’s page, and an appearance in Forbes, NO BS! is gaining widespread attention. And their new album Brass Knuckles, coming out at the end of the month, proves to be fueled with issues that many can’t turn their heads to.
The ensemble has recorded five albums and since 2007 and the upcoming album proves to be tighter than ever with NO BS! bringing a clamoring of sounds that allude to toughness and integrity.
The name of the album itself metaphorically strings itself to the band, beefing itself up with knucks made of brass instruments as their weapons to fight or more so, to protect, and bring to light many social issues. The band embraces the idea of freezing mundanity and jumping head first into enjoying our lives in the moment with awareness jumping in and out of listeners heads.
The first track of Brass Knuckles titled “3am Bounce”, was written by Pace himself.
“3am Bounce” is a new version of what we have been doing,” Pace said. “There’s some new styles and it’s occurrent in vibes, but it definitely has a spin to it from our usual instrumentals. It’s me listening to new music but putting it through the lens of instrumentation.”
Another notable track on the album is “Act Like You Know”, which blatantly directs its message to all the people who do and do not carry awareness to the issues going on around us at the moment. The song’s upbeat tempo allows NO BS! Brass to directly shout at you and at the same time influence you to realize, “yeah I gotta’ do better”.
With the blind or side eyes given to humanity, politics and social issues, pairied with quick-snap vocals, the conglomerate of brass brings a fast-paced and comfortable vibe to listeners.
“The record isn’t necessarily a sort of reaction to the issues going on at the moment,” Pace said. “The music is just a record of what’s going in writing. It is what it is right now, but the shows that we perform is like a relief from what’s going on.” There is a lot of murder. Point blank. And there’s nothing to dispute about that. Democrats and Republicans in the government eat lunch and hang out with each others families.”
Pace, who has been at the core of the collective for about eight to nine years, exudes a welcoming vibe when it comes to performing at events and for years their fanbase has grown from various paradigms that include social media, and an ever tangling web of friends.
NO BS! Brass continues to thrive in our city and others as well, with national attention gained from TV appearances, NPR invites, and interests from camps like Jimmy Fallon, NO BS! Brass ain’t goin’ anywhere. And as a staple band in Richmond due to its stronghold that has been around for nearly a decade, this isn’t any news to pure Richmonders.
So, starting this Thursday at Balliceaux for four nights, enjoy the fierceness as NO BS! Brass will perform live and you can pick up your copy of their new album Brass Knuckles at one of the shows. Tickets $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
The digital release for the album will be available on iTunes November 20th.