When: Tue., Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m. 2016
As New York Indian brass band Red Baraat have expanded their audience through incessant touring, their music has changed along the way. Led by percussionist Sunny Jain, the group had never been strictly traditional. Now they’ve carved out a niche as a high-functioning party band that bring a wild brass attack to bhangra music with nice accents from New Orleans (the group dubs its sound “dhol ’n’ brass”). Last year’s Gaadi of Truth (Sinj) made it clear that Red Baraat want an even broader audience. They take on topical subjects, as in the title track’s rapped screed against racial profiling, and they embrace a more hybrid approach, making room for hip-hop beats, psych-rock guitars, and endless doses of Crescent City ebullience. I appreciate the group’s efforts to tackle different styles—the airy instrumental “Layers” has jazz-derived harmonies, and “Se Hace Camino” is Latin pop fusion—but as Red Baraat have magnified their music and ideas for a wider listenership they’ve become less special to me. Ultimately they’re a party band, and being unique is less important than keeping that dance floor packed.