The Hot 8 Brass Band has seen its share of hard times. Three members of the New Orleans-based band have died from gun violence within the last 10 years. But after an appearance in Spike Lee's “When the Levees Broke,” things started looking up. The band is the first U.S. act signed to the hip Tru Thoughts label, home to Quantic, TM Juke and the Bamboos. Its first album, “Rock with the Hot 8,” was released in 2007. The disc is a gumbo of soul, hip-hop and funk, and the group's cover of “Sexual Healing” hits a high-water mark. The band performs at the Friday Free For All at the University of Richmond's Lower Forum Sept. 5. The group is also scheduled to perform thrice on West Broad Street Friday evening (7:30 p.m. at North Adams and West Broad, 8:45 p.m. at North Foushee and West Broad and 9:30 p.m. at North Madison and West Broad). All shows are free. 289-8980.