The Soul Rebels and Talib Kweli | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN |

New Orleans has long been one of the greatest musical melting pots in the world.  So, it only makes sense that the Big Easy, the birthplace of jazz, would spring forth a brass band as unique as The Soul Rebels Sound System.  With a rotating cast of characters since 1991 (two original members remain), Soul Rebels have grown beyond standard brass band and jazz aesthetics, and worked in many cross cultural influences including hop-hop, soul, country, rock, and pop.  As they have done in the past, The Rebels are touring with a uniques musician to add their own spin to an established catalog, this time with revered MC Talib Kweli.

Stopping by TLA on Wednesday night, this was an all business affair.  No openers, and barely any time to breath in between songs, the group smashed through an energetic set of original material mixed in with a large variety of popular hits, including “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” and “Off The Wall.”  I hadn’t been familiar with them outside of a passing familiarity before the show, and I’m glad I went, because no matter how good they are on CD, their live sound is impeccable, and they bring a party worth throwing.

About half way through the night, their guest of honor, Talib Kweli, blessed us with his magnificent gifts on the mic, backed by the Soul Rebels unique take on some of his classics.  “The Blast” was a perfect first choice, as the brass nailed it, and the marching band drumming added a new energy to the classic song.  Rounding out his all-to-brief set with “I Try” and “Get By”, Kweli reminded us that he is a legend for a reason, and the Soul Rebels breathed new life it to classic songs.  Soul Rebels continued on, undoubtedly everyone would have stayed with them the whole night, but, as the sayings about all good things go…..