Numerical advantage aside, one band above all could perhaps claim more than most to encapsulate Brighton’s abundant spirit of creativity and invention. Carnival Collective, to the uninitiated, are a kaleidoscopic mass of musicians, dancers, DJs and artists, with more than a few members who can claim more than one of those titles.
As a band, they’re best known for live drum’n’bass, jungle and swing, based around Brazilian drums, a horn section and exquisite basslines. Witnessing this evolving force is a little like admiring a high-stakes juggling act – big bands are often a joy to behold, but the apparent ease with which Carnival Collective bring together so many different sounds and ideas into a skittering, brilliant whole is a wonder that becomes more impressive every time they turn out.
Now they’re celebrating 25 years of unbridled symphonic innovation with a two-room takeover at Komedia on a night that begins at Coalition and winds its way to the North Laine behind the lead of a marching Samba band. “We are so proud of our history in the city – an inclusive, not-for-profit, community-interest group, collectively organised without management,” says the group’s Simon Rees.
“We’ve been a carnival street band, a drum’n’bass orchestra and Brighton’s biggest, baddest, glitteriest party band. We’ve played the Shangri-Hell Stage at Glastonbury, Bestival’s Caravanserai, Glasgow’s Encontro and Pride’s Main Stage in Brighton. From that journey, we’re including a number of amazing bands whose members have been part of our journey.”
Those guests include London’s Bring Your Own Brass and Glasgow’s SambaYaBamba, as well as mass karaoke with a live samba band, Sambaoke. The collective themselves have new compositions to show off: most notably ‘Suerte’, recorded earlier this year at Brighton Electric, which sends angelically soothing harmonies into frenetic beats and Latin rap across five typically eclectic minutes from the club and festival fixtures.
Carnival Collective and friends: 25th Birthday Bash, Coalition (from 7pm), Komedia (from 11pm) Friday 29th November 2019 (tickets £15, buy online)
Words by Ben Miller.
Photo courtesy Carnival Collective.