Rebirth Brass band | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Rebirth Brass band 

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Founded by tuba player Philip Frazier while he was still in high school, the Rebirth Brass Band has been playing deep funk--minus the guitar and distressing slap bass--for 19 years. They started out busking on New Orleans street corners and have since taken dozens of trips to Europe, Japan, and Africa; later this month they're touring Cuba, and they've invited their fans to party with them the whole week (provided anybody's willing to come up with two grand for expenses). Rebirth's collaborators have included James Brown's favorite saxist, Maceo Parker, and nasty New Orleans bounce forefather Warren Mays--they also claim to have released the first brass-band album to warrant a parental advisory label, last year's Hot Venom (Mardi Gras), which is cut with a stiff dose of hip-hop and peppered with hair-curling tunes like "Pop That Pussy." Rebirth is the kind of spirited, oddball group that could only have come from the Big Easy: the nine members wear matching bandannas and T-shirts, like a summer-camp version of a street gang, and their sweaty, endurance-challenging sets start with uplifting boogies like "Don't Start No Shit!" and wind down into overlong, drunken-afterthought covers of Bill Withers's "Just the Two of Us" and TLC's "Waterfalls." Their growling, tooting, thumping, and shouting can be irresistible--but unless you're following them down the street with a party's worth of friends and a plastic cup full of beer, you'll probably wear out before the band does. Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13, 10 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln; 773-404-9494.


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