Papa Chango and The Red Brigade

Shelley Blake

DAREBIN MUSIC FEAST: The over-abundance of brass at Northcote’s premier music venue was the perfect introduction to this year's festival and a recipe for a happy dance floor.
Papa Chango and The Red Brigade
So many horn sections; where does one start?

Local funkstars Papa Chango have been blaring it out across Melbourne’s inner north and exciting the crowds for the past five years, and Thursday’s double bill with The Red Brigade was no exception. Playing as part of The Darebin Music Feast, the two groups of talented musicians are an absolute example of everything good brewing in Melbourne’s north.

The dynamic and cheeky ladies in red – led by the hilarious Brandy Alexander – opened the evening, and, with their comedic musical tales of frivolous fun and sexuality, loosened up a sleepy-eyed Thursday night crowd. The flawless Red Brigade filled the stage with lady delight, setting the scene for a comedic and entertaining battle of the horns.

Exit stage left women in cute red outfits. Enter stage right many men in man-type-ties.

As Papa Chango slide smoothly on stage, a sexy soulful introduction adds to the warmth of the already smoking and switched on crowd. The guys give a charmingly captivating performance – smothered in a variety of tempos, beats, horns and raw energy. Their funky afro-beats intertwined with smooth reggae sounds leave few spectators unmoved. Basically, these boys make music that makes you want to move to.

In a time where electronic sounds are seemingly taking over Melbourne’s pubs and music burrows, this dual domination of damn fine instruments and vocals is a much welcomed and refreshing sound.

Papa Chango are currently recording an LP, Matador, to be released later this year. Visit and for more details about each band.

Rating: Four stars

Papa Chango: Tully Sumner, Matt Bird, Dave Williams, Andre Lobanov, Silas Gibson, Michael Evans-Barker, Dave Henry, Ania Reynolds, Thom Mitchell and Dave Henry

The Red Brigade: Brandy Alexander, Stacey Starbright, Dr Randy Beaverson, Bidgie Allenswood, Hewy Walworth, Carina Southwell, Sam Tingira, Kitty Kalonga, Kitty Drysdale, Black Puss Caroline and Blacky A’Beckett

Papa Chango and The Red Brigade
Northcote Social Club
Thursday September 8

Darebin Music Feast
September 3 – 18

About the author

Shelley Blake is a reviewer for ArtsHub.