Red Baraat | SPACE | International | Chicago Reader

Red Baraat All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended

When: Sun., Feb. 24, 7 p.m. 2013

In the five years since percussionist Sunny Jain formed this nine-piece “dhol ’n’ brass” ensemble in Brooklyn, it’s undergone some serious road testing. Conceived as a party band, Red Baraat sparkled with high-energy showmanship from very early in their career, and constant international touring has further sharpened their ability to keep crowds on their feet—though this hasn’t meant totally good news for folks listening to the band’s albums at home. Red Baraat’s new second full-length, Shruggy Ji (Sinj), is their tightest and most propulsive yet: fluid, fat-toned brass and sinewy reeds combine Punjabi melodies with Mardi Gras ebullience, and the three-man rhythm section (Jain on the two-headed dhol, Tomas Fujiwara on standard kit, and Rohin Khemani on percussion) buoys the rollicking horns with the frothy, funky polyrhythms of bhangra and second-line marches. The exuberant counterpoint and terrific improvising recall New Orleans jazz, whether on originals or on turbocharged versions of traditional bhangra tunes, but on a couple tracks slick production or pandering vocals sap the music’s vitality—the lame rapping on “Private Dancers” is especially cringeworthy. Luckily when the band plays live, production missteps aren’t an issue, and even the worst vocals are reliably overwhelmed by the frenzied hullabaloo. —Peter Margasak

Price: $15-$28

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