They define themselves as ‘brass house’, combining jazz, Afro-Cuban rhythms, funk, EDM structures and house music. The band consist of Leo Pellegrino on baritone saxophone, Matt “Doe” Muirhead on trumpet and keyboards, and David "King of Sludge" Parks on drums. Pellegrino and Muirhead met whilst attending the Manhattan School of Music, and Parks and Pellegrino had also played together in local busking band – Drumadics.
The band went viral on YouTube in 2014, with videos of their energetic live subway performances racking up millions of views. They proceeded to release several EPs, tour theatres and small clubs across the US, and even catch the attention of The Dixie Chicks and Beyoncé, playing backup for both of their internationally televised CMA Awards performances. They also appeared on the songs “Daddy Lessons” and “Formation” on Beyoncé’s Grammy nominated Lemonade album from 2016. Following this, the band have continued to rise, releasing their debut full-length studio album “Subway Gawdz” in June 2016 and touring ever since.
After a DJ set of club anthems nicely warming up the crowd, Too Many Zooz gradually came onto the stage, building up their sound instrument by instrument, exploding into a frenzy of brass house music; it was like a DJ’s set had been converted to jazz instrumentation. The band performed their own songs such as Warriors, which was featured in Google’s advert for their Pixel 2 smartphone, as well as covering anthems such as Drake’s Hotline Bling and internet meme sensation We Are Number One from the kids show, LazyTown.
The music had a fabulous sense of build, as the tempo and energy would rise before hitting huge breakdowns and causing the crowd to erupt into a rave. Parks provided a solid funk beat throughout the whole show, with Pellegrino’s baritone sax acting as the thumping low-end bass over the top, and Muirhead’s trumpet blasting out the melody to each song. Muirhead would often switch to keys offering a more electronic vibe, letting Pellegrino’s sax the spotlight. This created a really fun, New Orleans-style big band sound, despite there only being three of them.
Not to take anything away from the other musicians, but Pellegrino stole the show, taking the role as frontman into his own and hyping up the crowd with his constant erotic dancing - at one point just humping his sax before proceeding to slowly lick it. If Michael Jackson played the sax, he would do it like this – he was even sporting a sparkly bum bag much like MJ’s glove.
It was impressive to see the band uphold this energy for an hour and thirty minutes with almost no breaks or talking – especially when considering Pellegrino’s constant dancing. Considering I knew little about this band and their unique brand of music, I was utterly delighted by how fun and energetic their live performance was. If you’re not much of a dancer, Too Many Zooz will make it their mission to change that.