Mainstage Theatre, 216 Union Street, Seattle
The Chicago-based Lowdown Brass Band proves you don’t have to be tied to New Orleans to produce a powerful brass band album. With its latest disc, the eclectic Lowdown Breaks, the group works to pay homage to the institution of hip-hop, setting its gaze specifically on the breakbeat, while keeping an eye trained on the jazz genre. Just as proto-DJs did before them, Lowdowncreates a unified style from diverse musical influences, sounding at various points like a New Orleans trad band (“2nd Line Hop”), a funkified Tower of Power-style outfit (“Live It Up”) and a Chicago-esque horn-rock group (“Ponder This”). But what unifies the album is its horn lines. This ensemble is a little more sub-dued than its N’awlins counterparts, with pre-cision taking priority over all-out power. But the album doesn’t suffer for its laid-back vibe. Quite the contrary: The clean sound grants MCs and guest vocalists space to shine. Featured MC Billa Camp flexes some seri-ous lyrical muscle, with a silky delivery that filters poetic themes through colloquial language. Part of that is a product of his influenc-es. Though based in Chicago, his work clear-ly has been informed by legends of East Coasthip-hop, especially Nas and Q-Tip. Meanwhile, reggae artist Fada Dougou adds a stormy feroc-ity to his feature, “Don’t Wait, Right Now,” and The Dread contributes a gritty, hard-bitten refrain to “Ghost Town,” a song that sports themelody of The Specials’ classic.
$20 General Seating // $25 Premium Seating