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The Wedding Jam Blog

Memorable Stories from Unforgettable Weddings.


Brass Bands - The Renaissance!

After a period in doldrums, brass bands are enjoying a revival - and it feels like they're here to stay. We take a look at the renewed energy and popularity of brass ensembles and why they're so ace!

Mr Wsl Promo Image 2018

There was a time, not so long ago, that anyone thinking of brass bands thought about fusty colliery bands or, at a push, the marching bands of New Orleans in the early 1900s. Either way, it was something that felt consigned to history. That is, until relatively recently.

In the UK at least, brass bands were usually synonymous with what was a vibrant old tradition centred on communities and industry, particularly the coal mining industry. Colliery pit bands grew out of mining villages as an expression of solidarity, creativity and aspiration. Mostly subsidised by the unions, with musicians drawn from the miners and their families, colliery brass bands gave working class people a creative outlet and a community hub, and workers were encouraged by pit bosses to play in bands as a way of keeping them out of the pubs.

When the coal mining industry began to collapse under Thatcherism, the vast majority of colliery bands died, with a few notable exceptions such as the Grimethorpe Colliery Band who continue to this day, having featured in the 1996 film Brassed Off.

While it was an undoubtedly vital tradition, it was a sound that had come to feel like a relic of the past, and through the late 80s and 90s the idea of brass bands ever being relevant again felt highly unlikely.

The Hot 8 Brass Band

Emerging from, yes, New Orleans in the mid-90s, the seminal Hot 8 Brass Band were about to change all that for good. Blending traditional marching music with modern hip-hop, r&b and other contemporary styles - transcending genres and trends - the Hot 8 Brass Band exploded onto the scene in around 2007, bringing a new freshness and energy to brass music through their debut album 'Rock With the Hot 8'. Heavy touring, featuring increasingly raucous cover versions, saw their popularity surge, as they collected Grammy nominations and growing critical acclaim.

Their influence has become nigh-on incalculable, with a raft of brass ensembles forming since. Our own roster boasts a healthy dose of brass ensembles - constantly in-demand, and with good reason. Our brass acts blast out life-affirming and exuberant, joyous sounds. Little wonder these acts are so popular at weddings - it's a perfect fit.

Brass bands with Wedding Jam

Our headline brass act is the sensational Mr Wilson's Second Liners. Heavily influenced by the New Orleans tradition, these cats serve up brass band takes on Hacienda and club classics. Uniquely wonderful and jubilant, they'll turn your wedding reception into a carnival.

The Hot Street Jazz Band bring a 1920s and 30s authenticity, with their takes on the jazz music of the time, while German Jukebox's brass sound takes in Bavarian Oompah - every bit the party-starting vibe.

Coming from the poppier end of the spectrum, the brilliant Danger Goat cover acts as varied as the Pet Shop Boys, Daft Punk, Rihanna and Father John Misty.

Mining deeper cuts from the likes of Anderson Paak, Gorillaz, D'Angelo and Chaka Khan, coupled with classics from chart-toppers such as ABBA and Fleetwood Mac, Brass Cuzn are another wonderful brass act ploughing their own particular furrow.

Backstage Brass look to blend the two traditions - New Orleans and British brass bands - via a vast repertoire of modern classics, and the roaming Brassik bring their brand of brass bedlam from Liverpool to set your wedding reception alight.

And last but not least are the amazing Brass Bells, a euphoric 8 piece who serve to remind everyone just how much new life has been breathed into the brass band scene.

Brass bands are here to stay. If you were in any doubt, cast your mind back to Beyoncé's 2018 Coachella headline shows (featured on the Netflix documentary Homecoming), which fully embraced the New Orleans marching band tradition, and George Ezra's 2019 tour, which featured the Hot 8 Brass Band as part of his band.

No longer seen as a thing of the past, brass bands are as vital as they've ever been. They're fresh, brash, riotous and raucous - perfect if you want your wedding party to go off. And let's face it, everyone wants their wedding to go off. Get involved!

The best night of your life deserves the perfect soundtrack.