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Thursday 13: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Northern Monkey Brass Band @ Newcastle Green Festival, Leazes Park. June 3

Graham Hardy (trumpet), Alistair Lord (trumpet), Jamie Toms (tenor saxophone), David Grey (trombone), Hannabiell Sanders (bass trombone), Paul Susans (sousaphone), Brendan Murphy (bass drum) & Nik Alevroyiannis  (snare drum).
(Review by Russell).
Christmas came and went when Graham Hardy abandoned his Horn Dogs, left in the care of the cat and dog shelter. Then in the bleak mid-winter days of January, as if experiencing an epiphany, the Tyneside trumpeter remembered the old adage ‘a Horn Dog isn’t just for Christmas.’ He knew what he had to do.

He ran out the door and dashed up the road wailing: My Horn Dogs! My Horn Dogs! Please forgive me! Arriving at the shelter he gasped, somewhat out of breath…My Horn Dogs…they are still…you haven’t? A reassuring kennel hand said: Ah! Don’t worry Sir. Some of them are still here. Fearing the worst Hardy replied: Some of them? 
The kennel hand said: Well Sir, some of them have found new homes, the others are still here. They’re being well looked after waiting to find a new home. 
Phew! said a much relieved Hardy. I’ll take them home with me – all of them.
Reunited with his Horn Dogs he gave them all a big cuddle – Alistair, Brendan, Paul and David. Hardy was about to leave when he was surrounded by some really cute young pups, tails a-wagging, just asking to be re-homed by a trumpet-playing Horn Dog lover.
Well, what the hell said Hardy. And so it was. Our trumpeter left with no fewer than seven Horn Dogs. With so many mouths to feed gigs were much needed - lots of them. Hardy went Walking the Dog(s) in Leazes Park one day and as luck would have it those nice Green Festival people were pitching a tent.
They said: Would you and your Horn Dogs like to perform at this year’s festival? Hardy couldn’t believe his luck: Would we? You bet we would! Hardy quickly knocked them into shape (you can’t teach an old Horn Dog new tricks) and they were ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
Hang on a minute said Hardy, Let’s go out under a new name. They chewed a bone or two and settled on the Northern Monkey Brass Band…well, you would, wouldn’t you?
On this weekend of fairy stories the band of wuffians couldn’t wait to get started. So keen, they were Horn Doggin’ bang on the appointed time. It was as if they had never been away. Killer brass playing, driven by percussion masters Brendan Murphy (bass drum) and Nik Alevroyiannis (snare drum) and Paul Susans’ funkin’ sousaphone (spell checked - Ed), this lot could get a brass monkey moving! Appropriately the weather was a bit brass monkeys - as our editor pointed out earlier - and in no time at all the joint (tent) was jumpin’.
Funky Pie featured bootin’ tenor sax from young pup Jamie Toms, some shake yer booty moves from bass trombone star Hannabiell Sanders and impossible stratospheric trumpet from Alistair Lord.
Hardy needed to take it down a notch. St James’ Park (RIP), home to Newcastle United Football Club and but a corner kick from Leazes Park, we have been informed is to be known as the Sports Direct Arena. Like a defiant, disobedient dog St James’ Infirmary became Sports Direct Infirmary Blues. Reverential it was – for a while. Then right on cue, we got joyous, stompin’ N’Orlins street brass band playing. The short festival set drew to a close with everyone’s favourite (you don’t need to be a jazz fan) – the theme from Star Wars. Jambone alumni David Grey (trombone) got hold of this one and wouldn’t let go. After much gnashing and growling Master Hardy brought him to heel just in time for the ensemble to take it home in style.
A cracking set from a cracking band. Concert hall, pub, arts centre, marquee, if you own one or have access to one and need a band guaranteed to deliver a good time, look no further – book the Northern Brass Monkey Band - Sorry the Northern Monkey Brass Band (except during the winter when they might find the former name more appropriate).
Photos.
Russell.

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