Rebels let the good times roll
Rebels let the good times roll

When the words soul and rebel come together, it's a perfect description for a New Orleans band who play from the heart and like to break the rules.

Soul Rebels are an eight-piece brass band forged in the tradition of that all-American college institution, the marching band, but with a lot more going on.

So while the decades-old band has all the energy of a tight and pepped-up marching band they also incorporate hip-hop, soul, jazz, funk and just about any other style which takes their fancy.

Whether they are playing their own songs or making you dance to their upbeat covers, this is about taking the warm feeling of tradition and adding a sure sense of the now.

They've been called the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong and have collaborated on stage and opened for everyone from Metallica and Maceo Parker to Suzanne Vega and Green Day.

They've also played at a Stella McCartney fashion launch and appeared on the revered HBO television series Treme.

"This isn't just about When the Saints Go Marching In," drummer Lumar LeBlanc says. "We try and approach it like Michael Jackson - artistic and cutting edge. There's lots of rhythm and it's very soulful. This band builds on the tradition of what New Orleans already has and polishes it up. We've always wanted to be a mainstream act, like James Brown, the Beatles or the Stones. They took traditional music, put it on the stage and turned it on its head." The hard-working band plays about 250 shows a year and when they're home in New Orleans are well known for their Thursday night residency at the club Le Bon Temps Roule.

After numerous album releases and some two decades together, Soul Rebels make their debut trip to Australia this month. "My goal as an artist is always to entertain," LeBlanc says. "I want to excite our audience so they know we're the act to see."

Positivity is high on the Soul Rebels' agenda. LeBlanc says the best way to counter negativity in the world is to throw 10 times more positivity at it.

So if you want to change your world view, even if it is just for the night, then this is where you want to be. Dancing shoes are mandatory.


The West Australian

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