The Sage, Gateshead
The Sage, Gateshead

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for brass, initially just those times when it turned up in rock music, but over time I came to love the look and the sound (and the history) of a brass band, so the chance to spend the day listening to brass bands wasn’t one I was ready to turn down.

I made the mistake of thinking that a few years ago and went to the world championships at the Royal Albert Hall - but a day of brass bands playing the same short piece wasn’t really the sort of day out for a casual fan.

But Brass in Concert has each band doing their own themed programme and so was varied - from a band doing a 27 minute programme about Anne Frank, with a contemporary dancer representing her ghost, to bands playing the themes to Eastenders or Tetris!

The Cory Band
The Cory Band

Now my ears aren’t so good that I can tell a spectacular band from a good one, so my opinions are all about how entertained I was.

Eventual winners, The Cory Band, squeezed Treasure Island into their 27 minute programme, and it was a treat.

Eventual last place band, Redbridge Brass, did a thoroughly enjoyable tech themed set with a hilarious joke iBand piece - maybe it’s triviality counted against them but I (and seemingly most of the audience) appreciated it.

The Tredegar Band had clips from the Barrymore Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - so … a silent film with a brass band - that’s how to push my buttons!

The Tredegar Band
The Tredegar Band

All in all a lovely relaxing way to spend a day. This was also my first visit to the big hall in The Sage, and that was pretty special too.

OK - here’s some of my fave brass in rock music …

Possibly the finest moment in all rock music is when the French horn arrives in The Beatles For No One:

The Beatles - For No One

… or maybe when the trumpet arrives in Love’s Alone Again Or:

Love - Alone Again Or

… and here’s the (sadly no more) Hanwell Band playing with Robert Wyatt

Robert Wyatt - Now't Doin'

not a penny off the pay, not a second on the day