TITLE: Mnozil Brass
VENUE: Marsden Mechanics Hall
REVIEW BY: Katie Campling
BRASS band concerts are brand new ground for me.
But even enthusiasts were in unchartered territory watching Austrian group Mnozil Brass at Marsden Mechanics Hall on Friday.
You see, Mnozil are not your average brass band. This septet are as far away from traditional brass as you can get.
They combine irreverent humour with virtuoso playing to create a show unlike anything else.
One minute, we were in fits of laughter, the next in awe at their skills.
After an introductory performance from Diggle Brass Band, Mnozil took the stage and, for the first half of the show, hardly said a word.
They didn’t need to – each player’s personality and quirky European humour shone through in the music.
When trombone player Zoltan Kiss donned a gold chain and exposed his chest hair for a Sicilian skit, we all laughed.
But then, we were blown away by his playing, which created sounds most trombones will never make.
Bearing in mind that Mnozil do over 100 shows worldwide, at venues including Sydney Opera House, seeing them in Marsden Mechanics’ Hall was both a bizarre experience and a huge privilege.
It’s a bit like seeing U2 perform in your local pub!
Despite the humble surroundings, Mnozil gave their all. With trumpets, trombones and a tuba, they made some of the most impressive music I’ve ever heard.
They took pieces like the Star Wars theme or the William Tell Overture and transformed them totally.
There was also plenty of improvisation – freestyle jazz sets and conversation-like musical exchanges.
Each of the players is a virtuoso in his field. But these men are multi-talented. They can even play recorders with their noses better than most do with their mouths!
Surprisingly, they’re good harmony singers too, demonstrated by a music box-style vocal rendition of Edelweiss and a stunning version of Bohemian Rhapsody.
The audience would have stayed all night, you couldn’t be bored.
There was plenty of ‘show’ to impress a layman like myself. But underneath the flashy moves were subtle techniques which, to those in the know, were more awe-inspiring.
That’s exactly what is great about Mnozil. Not only are they good enough to wow an expert audience, they offer entertainment on a level that non-experts can enjoy.
If you believe brass should be serious and traditional, this definitely is not the show for you.
However, if you want to an incredible, unique brass performance, then you should check out Mnozil whenever you get the chance.
Miss it and you’ll definitely have missed out.