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The Soul Rebels 

The eight-piece New Orleans jazz ensemble defy you to sit still with their medley of styles and boundless energy


Lumar Leblanc, one of the founding members of The Soul Rebels, is just as pleasant on the phone as you'd expect from his band's upbeat performances. He's relaxed and in no rush, despite the fact that he's calling from a van in the middle of a packed tour, and entirely unfazed when our connection gets cut off several times. "It's all good," he says, and you believe him.

The Soul Rebels are an eight-piece New Orleans ensemble that's popular for their live shows known for bringing audiences to their feet. Leblanc and Derrick Moss wanted to play songs that stemmed from New Orleans jazz traditions, but also mixed in contemporary popular influences. "We pull from jazz, hip-hop, reggae, funk," Leblanc says. School marching band skills also continue to serve them well: "We use that muscle control, aperture, hand-eye coordination, all of that training," Leblanc says. The result is an exuberant mix of originals and covers that Leblanc calls kinetic. "We do a lot of horn playing, drum playing, sousaphone...we've finally got to the point where the show is nonstop energy. Sometimes we go two hours straight." Capturing this essence on their most recent recording, Unlock Your Mind, wasn't easy, but Leblanc says the Rebels accomplished it by working themselves "into a frenzy" in the studio. "You have to really put yourself into the song."

The Soul Rebels' passion gives them a wide appeal, and their famous fans are many, from The Neville Brothers to Green Day. They were even invited to open Metallica's 30th anniversary celebration, where they threw in their own spin on "Enter Sandman." Playing about 250 shows a year, The Soul Rebels show no signs of slowing down. "We're definitely upbeat kind of people. It's a good journey and we look forward to bringing good music to the world for a long time." --JF

The Soul Rebels w/ L’orkestre des Pas Perdus, Friday, July 6 at The Festival Tent, 8pm, $23/$20

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