Review: Brasstracks’ Vibrant tour brings “future brass” sound to the Big Easy


Ivan Jackson takes a break from trumpeting during the show. Brasstracks brought the bands’ “future brass” sound to Republic NOLA with their Vibrant tour. Photo credit: Haley Weinstein

Catie Sanders

If you think you know Brasstracks’ music, you’re wrong.

Ivan Jackson, trumpet, and Conor Rayne, drums, proved to be unpredictable on the Vibrant tour. It’s not surprising that they’ve mastered the art of improvisation, and, just from one concert, you could guess that this is a band you could follow on tour and never see a show with the same set list.

Holding the spot as one of the band’s most popular songs is a brass-heavy, instrumental version of “In My Feelings.” So, a few covers at any of their shows is expected. What’s unexpected is their way of sneaking covers into a set in such a seamless, fresh way that they almost sound like originals. It’s definitely easier to keep a concert unpredictable when the band has the option of throwing in a cover here and there. Still, every song, original, cover or anything in between, has a brass-fueled, passionately-played sound that is unique to the band.

Even the tracks a die-hard fan might know by heart are amplified on stage by the duo’s delivery. With his energetic performance and quick quips in between songs, Jackson has the onstage presence of an up-and-coming artist who’s accustomed to being his own hype-man. Having jumped from genre to genre, this eager personality could just be fallout from Brasstracks’ days spent creating dance music. A song is always better when the artist performs it with a passion that radiates from stage, and Brasstracks does exactly that. Hearing them live adds an element that their recorded songs simply can’t capture.

Brasstracks’ music flows in and out of a few genres. It’s hard to tell if their music is synthed-up jazz or brass-fueled R&B. Thankfully, Brasstracks’ has given their own name to the sound, “future brass.” Heavily electronic, but still somehow giving the spotlight to trumpet and drums, their music is somehow futuristic and old school at the same time. Though, R&B may not be the first thing to come to mind when hearing it. The Vibrant tour featuring hip-hop artist Kemba and rapper Pell leans more toward the R&B side. Still, every Brasstracks song, even those the band calls it R&B, has the signature trumpet and drums that keep their music able to transcend classification.

The Vibrant tour might be a collection of unpredictable shows by a band with an unclassifiable sound. But, what’s sure to happen at every show, however, is for it to come to a close with Pell, undoubtedly followed by his catchphrase, “Pell Yeah.”