This past summer I had the privilege of finally getting to see Chicago's mightly LowDown Brass Band live, in the flesh, for the first – and I sincerely hope not the last – time. The powerful band dazzled me instantly when I stumbled across their cover of the ska classic “Ghost Town” sometime in early 2018. As soon as the sweet sounds hit my ear drums, I knew this was a band that I HAD to witness live.
And as if I had willed it into existence, this past summer (2019) they touched down in my hometown, Victoria, British Columbia, for the first time. Part of the landmark 20th Anniversary Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival, LowDown left a huge impression on the crowd – with many people, including the Festival Director, telling me that LowDown was the surprise/new discovery of the festival. One of the most engaging stage shows I've seen in a long time, the interplay both between the band and the audience, and the members of the band with each other, was next level and made it genuinely impossible to dislike anything they were laying down. Deft players and personable dudes, LowDown Brass Band is a band you need to see if you like big brass sounds, hip-hop, funk or really, if you just like getting so LowDown. Go out of your way to see this band before they blow up in the stratosphere (Which is happening incredibly quickly right now it seems). Shortly before they landed here in Victoria, we got ahold of sousaphone player Lance Loiselle in amongst the chaos of relentless touring, for a little instalment of the 5 Questions in which we cover daredevil kayaking, the importance of practice and a theoretical days with a pair of musical legends.
1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?
Probably Off the Wall or Purple Rain.
Both classics. If you had to take one to listen to right now, which one you going for?
Probably Michael Jackson. Prince was one of my favourites, but so was Michael Jackson. All that Quincy Jones stuff is classic. Quincy's from Chicago too. He brings that Chicago horn sound to every single thing he touched for Michael Jackson.
2. When's the last time you did something for the first time?
It had to be last summer. I went kayaking in glacial waters. It wasn't that easy.
Had you been kayaking in non-glacial waters?
Glacial waters are like 30 or 40 degrees. You fall in and you're instantly numb. You're gonna fall in. Someone will go in. The river we were on was called Wrong Way.Read More