New Orleans trio inspire Clitheroe youngsters

Three members of King Brasstards busk in Clitheroe town centre ahead of their gig with The South that evening.
Three members of King Brasstards busk in Clitheroe town centre ahead of their gig with The South that evening.

It’s not often that you’ll see professional musicians from a well known and popular band take time out to busk in the streets of Clitheroe ahead of their gig that evening.

But that’s what three seasoned, professional musicians who play with The South (formerly The Beautiful South) did on Friday afternoon before their set at Clitheroe’s The Grand that night.

Gareth John (trumpet/flugelhorn), Steve Nutter (bass/sousaphone) and Dave Anderson (drums), who are all experienced touring professionals, know how long the journeys and days can be. So having recently formed their own New Orleans Brass band with a twist, The King Brasstards, the trio decided to use their daytimes productively to promote the project and have been busking in towns up and down the country before performing with The South in the evening.

Busking has long been behind some of the biggest success stories of bands, and with Leicester-based seven piece outfit The King Brasstards embarking on their own tour of the United Kingdom in 2017, Clitheroe was their destination on Friday, as they took to Market Place with stripped down three-piece renditions of the band’s swing, jazz, pop and original repertoire.

After half an hour or so, the day quickly became a busking highlight for them, as several enthusiastic toddlers on their way home from nursery joined the party, dancing and singing along to the band’s “off the cuff” performances of children’s songs, Christmas carols and traditional jazz classics. Local passers-by from all walks of life also joined in.

All three musicians give back to the next generation through educational work, and with one local telling the guys they “lit up the town”, it was by all accounts, a thoroughly enjoyable experience, one of many nationwide, as trumpet player and co-founder Gareth John explains:

“It’s been great to have two very different musical experiences every day,” the 25-year-old explained.

“Street performances capture people’s imaginations and the people of Clitheroe, of all ages, were really supportive of what we were doing. To do that in the daytimes rather than sitting around, and then perform great songs to big audiences with The South in the evening, it really makes you realise we are very lucky to do what we do.”

It seems that the street-level activity has paid and will pay off for the Brasstards, as fellow founding member Steve Nutter (Sousaphone) explains: “It (busking) gets us out the house doing something that makes a difference to people’s days, and also give us great confidence in our product. We’ve had various people come up and ask for business cards, and a lot of them have followed up with booking inquiries, which myself and Gareth deal with.

“Clitheroe was extra special with the nursery party really getting into what we were doing. I’ve always believed that music can inspire and educate, and I think we saw that today in abundance!”

The King Brasstards are a seven-piece quirky, entertaining and stylish band, with a mobile rhythm section on bicycles, a mighty sousaphone, live percussion and four horns. They pride themselves on audience participation, have taken the live music scene by storm since their inception 18 months ago, and will be gracing stages across the land and abroad next year in line with their new album release, having put out an EP earlier this year.

To find out more about the band e-mail kingbrasstardsuk@gmail.com, “like” the band on Facebook (King Brasstards) or follow them on Twitter @kbrasstards.