Youngblood Brass Band is a veritable riot of sound. Mix hip-hop vocals and elements of punk with wailing saxophones, blaring trumpets, staccato trombones, pounding drums and the low bellow of a lone sousaphone, and you'll get an idea of what their sonic frenzy sounds like.
Friday night's show was a homecoming of sorts for the band, which was founded in 1995 by a group of Oregon High School students. It was also a send-off, as the band will soon tour Europe, where they've headlined at least one major music festival. Ten of the group's members performed for more than 90 minutes as fans filled the High Noon Saloon to capacity.
While the musicians occasionally played jazz-style solos, they focused on creating a collective sound. Their first few songs came from their most recent trip to the studio, where they've been recording a long-awaited follow-up to 2006's Is That a Riot? The opening song featured vocals by founding member D.H. Skogen, whose tone, delivery and lyrics recalled Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha. This was especially true for "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," a critique of America featuring lyrics such as "America, your musical revolutions are great, but your kids ain't so bright."
On both new and old songs, Youngblood displayed an impressive range of material, from somewhat traditional horn pieces to songs with a layered rock sound. At different points, the group sounded like the Clash, a funk band and a Motown movie soundtrack. Almost all of the songs were originals, but the musicians also played a few covers, including Michael Jackson's "Human Nature."
It's easier to create a variety of sounds with an electric guitar and bass than it is with a 10-piece brass band, but Youngblood Brass Band rose to the challenge. Electronic samples added a modern touch to the very end of some songs. One of the biggest crowd-pleasers was the sousaphone, which was coaxed into emitting various gurgles, warbles and chicken noises. By the end of the show, the crowd clapped almost as loud as the musicians played their instruments.