'Mardi Gras' at VAULT (24 Feb '12, Waterloo) // Words: Raman K
The VAULT Festival “Lates” series concluded with 'Mardi Gras', a recreation of a New Orleans bar experience, tucked away in the Old Vic Tunnels of Souf Laandan. The night was hosted by the Brass Volcanoes, a band of lads with a passion for bombastic saxophones, trumpets, trombones and the like. Unfortunately, despite being paying homage to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras vibes, they fell pretty short of the talent and richness of the regional musical heritage.
Amplified by the cramped tunnel acoustics, their live riffs thundered around the venue uncomfortably pitched and often discordant. At a pricey £11 entry fee you felt a little more aware that the authenticity is simply lacking. Throwing in the odd gimmick track felt like a cheap trick rather than a golden touch (e.g 'Rocky' theme tune). However, there was enough Bourbon whisky, pints of Sangria and rum cocktails to keep the crowd jiving and spilling until the early hours.
Ultimately, the night didn’t stick to its promises. Perhaps expectations were a little higher from the romanticism of Mardi Gras on crisp evening in Waterloo, or maybe the seasoned brass rhythm junkies found it easier to power through. Regrettably, this was more midday warm-up band at a county jazz festival than finale of an experimental nightclub and arts series.
Find more info on VAULT at thevaultfestival.com.