In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, in celebration of Mardi Gras, we’re picking songs we think could soundtrack our personal parades.
First things first: I went to one of those high schools (not so uncommon in the South) where marching band wasn’t the awkward outpost of an extracurricular activity, for the socially inept or classical-music obsessed. Marching band was the shit. Maybe some students attended football games if they had friends who were players, but mostly people showed up for the halftime show. And there had better be new songs and choreographed sequences for every single game, performance, and parade—or you run the risk of getting booed, heckled, or walked out on.
So when I started watching Treme a year or two ago, I was beyond delighted when I discovered the choice of song for the first musical number of the first scene of the pilot episode was a song I knew very well: “Feel Like Funkin’ It Up” by Rebirth Brass Band. David Simon and Eric Overmyer’s tone-poem ode to post-Katrina New Orleans kicked things off perfectly with this introduction to the concept of the second line (a kind of unofficial parade that follows the sanctioned one with all the permits) that also functions as the introduction to one of the main characters, Antoine Batiste (played by another Wire alum, Wendell Pierce). In fact, the band members who are negotiating terms of payment in the scene are members of RBB themselves.
From the opening bass line blasted from the sousaphone to the audience-participation-friendly chant throughout to all that kickass percussion, this song all but dares you not get up and strut down the middle of the street—none of this sidewalk business. Hell, form your own second line.
[Anyone looking to round out a similar playlist on this Fat Tuesday is encouraged to also seek out RBB’s “Let’s Go Get ’Em,” Lil Rascals’ “Roll With Me, Knock With Me,” The Marsalis Family’s rendition of “2nd Line,” and The Soul Rebels’ Brass Band Remix of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”]