Snapshots: No BS! Brass Band @ The Hamilton Live — 10/24/21

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No BS! Brass Band performs at The Hamilton Live on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Mix a little bit of New Orleans with a generous helping of funk and pop and you have the deliciousness that is No BS! Brass Band, the 11-piece that partied down at DC’s The Hamilton Live one recent evening.

Hailing from Richmond, Virginia (RVA all the way!), No BS! Brass Band was founded by Reggie Pace (trombone) and Lance Koehler (drums) who were students together at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Both were in separate bands and didn’t like some of the “stuff” that was going on, so they got together to form their own band and cut out “the stuff;” hence the name, No BS! Brass Band.

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Live Review: The Barclay Brass Quintet @ Silver Spring, Md. — 5/31/21

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The Barclay Brass Quintent performs on Memorial Day in Silver Spring. (Photo by Chris Smyth)

After two days of gray, rainy weather, the skies turned blue over Silver Spring, Maryland, salvaging the long weekend, and providing a perfect environment for an outdoor concert setting. Tucked back into a neighborhood amongst the trees and cicadas, The Barclay Brass Quintet performed a two hour show on Memorial Day afternoon full of classical stylings and popular hits.

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Live Review: Sleepy Creek HarFest @ Sleepy Creek [Berkeley Springs, WV] — 10/4-10/6/19

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Dangermuffin performs at Sleepy Creek HarFest 2019. (Photos by Chester Simpson; Words by Michael Tucker)

Sleepy Creek HarFest: The Place Where We Belong

Each time I go to Sleepy Creek, it feels like coming home. Although I attend a few bigger festivals each year featuring the bleeps, bloops, and synth-knob twiddling of Jamtronica I love so much, Sleepy Creek owns my heart. It’s like that favorite worn in pair of jeans that fit just right or a pair of super comfy pajama pants perfect for lounging at home. Just as importantly, the truly wonderful people who run, staff, and attend Sleepy Creek Presents events create the perfect environment for family, fun, creativity, connection, enjoyment of musical artistry as diverse as the American landscape, and, perhaps most importantly, Sleepy Creek gives festival attendees a place where they can be themselves.

During my weekend adventure at HarFest 2019 in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, on Oct. 4-6, I saw a bumper sticker on an RV that sums up my experience; it read: “There is no alternative to being yourself” — and Sleepy Creek is exactly that: a place where we can be ourselves, a place where we belong.

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Live Review: Too Many Zooz @ 9:30 Club — 12/22/18

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Too Many Zooz amaze the crowd at the 9:30 Club on Dec. 23, 2018. (Photo by David LaMason)

The New York City-based trio Too Many Zooz refer to their own music as “brass house,” which can be a bit hard to describe. Incorporating elements of up tempo ska, house, dub, and jazz, David “King of Sludge” Parks (drums/percussion), Leo Pellegrino (baritone sax), and Matt “Doe” Muirhead (trumpet/keys) have gone from busking the busy New York subway to playing alongside Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks at the 50th Annual CMA Awards in 2016.

And the trio took their brass house sound to 9:30 Club on Saturday.

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Live Review: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds @ 9:30 Club — 11/29/18

SisterSparrow Sister Sparrow performs at 9:30 Club on Nov. 29, 2018. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

How does such a beautifully soulful and booming voice come from such a small person? That is the question that first entered my mind when Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds took the stage recently at the iconic 9:30 Club.

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