I hate this time of year. The start of summertime is also the start of festival season and if there’s one thing I loathe more than a general election it’s sodding festivals. I just don’t understand why I should shell out half my salary to lie on bumpy ground all night being kept awake by braying posh kids getting slaughtered on mdma cut with chalk dust, wondering whether or not someone’s going to (a) vomit on my tent (b) urinate on my tent or (c) tip over a portaloo when I’m in it, and then set it on fire. (This did actually happen at Leeds festival once though thankfully I wasn’t there because why WOULD I BE?). For what? For a half hour set by someone good that I’ll probably miss because I’ll be queueing for the privilege of using a portaloo that makes *that* scene from trainspotting look like a Laura Ashley advert. People, this is not what we’re supposed to do to feel summery.
Luckily, the new LP from Renegade Brass Band can give you all the joy of summer in the comfort of your own home/car/local park. If you haven’t caught them live, then you should. The combination of whip-sharp musicality, energy and beats is intoxicating and infectious – it’s literally impossible to stand still during one of their sets.
Totems captures this vibe perfectly. The opener, “All Out”, sets out their stall with a riotous, latin-flavoured instrumental. Your head will start nodding and it won’t stop until the final, aptly named, closer “Victory Lap”. Guest vocalist, Gina Walters, brings a more reflective tone to the mid-point “Peleton” and has the kind of effortlessly pure and sweet range so many strive for but few achieve. MC’s drive the rhythm forward. Every track is pretty much guaranteed to get you on your feet. It takes incredible skill to make something sound so riotous. No wonder that the band have guested with luminaries such as Rodney P, opened for just about every hip hop superstar you care to mention, and collaborated with talents like Tall Black Guy.
It’s also no wonder that RBB will be setting EVERY festival on fire this summer. So if you like your fire on a stage or your stereo rather than in a portaloo, get on this.