Bringing a band that blends New Orleans second-line tradition and hip-hop rhythms to brass-heavy Richmond is a bit like bringing ice to Eskimos. Then again, Eskimos like ice. And judging by the Stooges' entertaining video "Wind It Up," they have a unique, loose-limbed charm. Is there anything more charmingly ambitious than a song overtly designed to start a dance craze?
The band capitalized on winning a hard-fought Red Bull-sponsored brass band rumble under the Crescent City's Claiborne Bridge, parlaying it into a UK tour, a recording session (the source of the video) and a State Department good-will jaunt through Pakistan. Where the Red Bull prize-winning home team bristles with horns, the recording and touring band on the promotional videos has a more conventional tonality, with keyboards and two percussionists behind a front line with doubled trumpets and a single trombone, sax and tuba. (OK, a tuba isn't conventional, but it hardly can be called a brass band without one).
The group's material ranges from the approachably jazzy — Chick Corea's "Spain" — to jazzily popular, such as Stevie Wonder's hit "Sir Duke." There's gritty hip-hop material as well, which might add a bit of spice to the Folk Festival's cheery one-world vibe. But ultimately what it's known for is being a hard-working, hard-playing New Orleans party band. Its members probably can hold any of the stages at the festival, but if you only see them once, see them in the dancing tent.
Saturday: 12:45-1:30 p.m., 7:15-8:15 p.m., MWV Stage.
Sunday: 3:30-4:15 p.m., Union First Market Bank/University of Richmond Stage.