Notes on "The Return of Honk!"
Second Line Social Aid And Pleasure Society
Radical marching bands. How often have you seen those words linked? But that’s the premise behind “THE RETURN OF HONK!”, an event that brings together 18 street bands (roughly 250 players) this weekend. Friday there’s a symposium — “The Philosophy of Honk” — at Tufts University and then a performance at the Abbey Lounge in Inman Square. Saturday there’ll be outdoor performances from noon to 6 in Davis Square and more in the evening at Dilboy Hall and Johnny D’s. On Sunday, everyone will assemble at noon and march to Harvard Square, where they’ll participate in the Oktoberfest celebration. (See www.honkfest.org for details.) The event, which is in its second year, is the brainchild of Maury Martin, musical director of the SECOND LINE SOCIAL AID AND PLEASURE SOCIETY, a local brass band who formed at an anti-war rally in 2003. “It was a remarkable gathering of the tribes,” says Martin of last year’s HONK! “And it was the beginning of a musical movement — the building of a nationwide community of like-minded musicians has been the most gratifying part of it all.” People come out of their houses and dance in the streets. Restaurants throw open their doors and dish out food. A carnival atmosphere prevails. Says SLSA&PS drummer Trudi Cohen, “I like to believe that bands consisting of brass and percussion, bands that are mobile and unplugged, can be as radical, as musically fresh and as contagious, as any rock/punk/metal sound.” Trombonist John Bell sees HONK! as a reversal of the bands-leading-soldiers-into-war role. “Our sense of parades is the carnival, Mardi Gras, street celebration, and street protest tradition. In that sense, parading is another way of communities celebrating the things they have in common, the things they are proud of.”
SHRED, long-time WBCN DJ and area club booker, departs for AAA radio station WKBE in Glens Falls, New York. He starts October 8. “Everybody knows the last few years haven’t been so great, and a bad situation is getting worse. One heavy door closes, and another big opportunity door opens.” . . . Count the CHANNELS as another band joining the Grey’s Anatomy family: the unsigned locals have licensed the use of their song “The Moon” in upcoming ads for the show.
: New England Music News
, John Bell
, Tufts University