I have mentioned in a earlier post my obsession with New Orleans and especially the music that originates from there. I have seen The Soul Rebels once before at SXSW but only for the last 15 minutes of their set because the venue was already filled to capacity by the time I arrived! I had heard about this show last minute as I was checking tweets around Outside Lands and wasn’t attending so thought this show could be the next best thing.
I had never been to the Brick and Mortar before so I did a quick social media cruise through before I arrived. It only took a few reviews on Yelp and Foursquare to make note that most fans complained about the staff, especially the door crew. I can second the rudeness of the door people as I got told to “Move and close the door” upon arriving and waiting in line. A simple please would have made the world of difference. Brick and Mortar is also extremely small and hot. During the entire opening act (that played for over an hour) we were stuck in front of the bar which is the exact wrong place to be. You are either dodging folks going back to get a drink or coming back into the crowd with drinks. I learned quickly that in order to actually enjoy and see the performer that off to the side is where I should be.
I also got stuck in the middle of a young couple’s first date and a crew from NYC that made it clear they weren’t interested in the music. During Jon Cleary’s opening set I was either overhearing the couple’s life story or a gal spouting off how amazing but cold SF is. Once the annoying couple left to buy more drinks I turned to the gal next to me and said “Do not let them back in.” Glad she agreed.
The opening act was Jon Cleary, a British piano player from New Orleans. He plays a nice mix of funk and R&B with his trio. Unfortunately it was a bit hard to enjoy his set squished between a first date and a loud group from NYC. I also thought his set was a little too long and it’s hard to enjoy mellow music in such a tightly compacted crowd. The Soul Rebels didn’t hit the stage until 11:30 which is a wee bit late for someone who had been at work since 8am and would have to leave by midnight to hit Bart in time to get home. Despite all this I enjoyed their set. They played highlights from the New Orleans brass band songbook and some covers from their latest mixtape that I linked in this post. Even though I was exhausted The Soul Rebels gave me energy to rock out like the best of them. Their horn hooks are tight and their vocals are also on point. Hopefully the next time I seen them I’ll be able to enjoy a full set without having to be anywhere the next day and no Bart to catch because I feel like they are a great reason to sleep past your alarm the next day.