Mirror Magazine

Reaching out for higher branches
Ishani Ranasinghe reports on the latest stunts of The Brass Monkey Band
Nearly eight months ago I was invited to see a new band performing at a private gathering. I was a little sceptical about going and what I was about to see, but I went. Once I saw them performing though, all doubts vanished and I was amazed at how good they were.

So many bands are mushrooming only to vanish away. Will ‘The Brass Monkey Band’ be yet another band or are they here to stay? With so many bands here in Colombo, how will this band fare against the others? How will they stand out?

This is what I wrote about them later on and now, as they played their final gig ‘The Last Banana’ before they take a short break I must say my questions have been answered and the doubts gone.

When I first met them they quite confidently said, “We are not just any band, we are so different from each other that when we come together we are bizarre,” while adding with a laugh that even they can’t believe how much fun they have.

After seeing them perform for the first time, I did manage to see a few of their gigs and of course listen to their EP ‘The Year of the Monkey’. And to sum it all up… they have held on getting better with each step. One of the key factors for this is their talent and the fact that people just love them.

Sitting at Frangipani last Wednesday, I got ready to see The Brass Monkey Band get onstage and play some of their originals, which have received an amazing response. As they got prepared, it was quite evident that there were a few changes in their line up, but they had not lost their touch.

Dilan Rathnapala who contributed with the scratch pads and bass was not to be seen. We were later told that he had migrated to Canada. There were two people who were bringing some extra essence to their performance, Ravihansa Wetakepotha with the tabla and Paul Jacobs (he will be the producer for their upcoming album) on bass.

They started off their show with “Morning Star” a track from their soon to be released album. After that they went through all their songs one last time, and of course tested them on the audience to see their reactions to the newer songs.

As Aadhil Aziz, their lead guitarist cum vocalist, put it, “You are the guinea pigs for the evening.” Playing some of their newest tracks like, “Colombo Groove”, “Letting Go”, “Content”, “The Lick” and of course some of their old tunes like, “Tumbleweed”, “Lay All Your Hands On Me” and “Sin”, they went through – if I am not mistaken – all the songs they have recorded and hope to record.

Speaking about playing all the songs they have come up with, I must mention this one song, which was quite interesting. It actually gave Anik Jayasuriya, their drummer, a chance to sing – or rap to be exact. They performed “The BMB” which Aadhil described as something of a joke song, which they couldn’t put away. “Every time we play it the crowd just loves it so…”

The audience there proved to be fans of the band as most of them were singing some of their more popular tracks like “Tumbleweed”. Each of their songs received loud cheers along with ‘whoops!’ from the audience showing that in a short time they have really gone far as a band.

Their performance was near perfect, with everyone there enjoying the show with the sense that they have been a part of a charitable event. Why? As they performed their final gig the band had decided to give the proceeds of the show to ‘The School for the Deaf and Blind’.

Before they bid farewell to the local band scene The Brass Monkey Band will be launching their album in early February, which will feature their new tracks which we can hear at Frangipani. Their tracks a mix of everything ranging from the ballets to fast ones.

As Aadhil and Swinly Perera got onstage at the end of their performance to sing an amazing version of “Underground”, another one of their originals, one listened to it knowing that this is going to be one band that will be missed.

As they head off in different directions doing their own thing for a while we wish them well and hope to see them soon. Because no matter what people say, with all their craziness and creativity, they did make their mark.


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