Brand New Heavies creating a buzz with its eclectic funk


Listen to a variety of music sources -- club owners, disc jockeys and record company executives -- and you'll hear that The Brand New Heavies is "the next big thing."

Music for the '90s, they say, and whose to argue?

The band's sound is hip, it's funky and, most importantly, it's crossing boundaries of music classification like no other release this year.

Mixing big brass and hints of hip-hop with an infectious dance-pop sound and a wailing female vocalist named N'Dea Davenport, The Brand New Heavies is worth its weight in music.

"We're really surprised because people have been going crazy," says bassist Andrew Levy, whose British band appears at Max's On Broadway tonight. "We couldn't ask for a better response in America."

Asked for an explanation for The Heavies quick success in the States (the album was released in the late spring), Levy offers: "Music listeners must have realized they've been missing something. We offer live dance music, and we're filling a gap that's been taken over by samplers, and videos and producer-based bands."

The Heavies will bring a live nine-piece band on to Max's tiny stage tonight, in hopes to bring people to their feet.

"We have two different shows we do -- one for a stand-up audience and one for sit-down, theater shows," Levy said. "But even at the sit-down shows, if the people don't get up and move toward the stage to dance, we won't play for them."

Levy said the small stage at Max's won't hinder the large troupe of musicians.

"Since we've come to America four weeks ago, we've been on stages where we can't even turn around," he said. "Actually, it's quite cozy. We prefer to play for smaller crowds because it's easier to bond with them."

The band's first single, "Never Stop," is getting radio airplay nationally in the most eclectic sense. Urban contemporary, Top 40, college radio and even adult contemporary formats have added the song.


The concert calendar:

Also coming to Max's On Broadway are Trip Shakespeare (Sunday), John Wesley Harding (Nov. 4), Lowen and Navarro (Nov. 5), Buddy Guy and John Campbell (Nov. 7), Toad The Wet Sprocket (Nov. 10) and Chris Smithers (Nov. 12).

The Smithereens perform at the Towson Center tomorrow night.

Coming to the Capital Centre are George Michael (Oct. 31), Jerry Garcia (Nov. 6 and 7) and Paula Abdul (Nov. 21).

The Arena welcomes Queensryche (Nov. 7).

Hammerjacks hosts Buzzcocks and Too Much Joy (Oct. 31), NRBQ (Nov. 2), Bret Michaels (Nov, 5), Transvision Vamp (Nov. 6), The Screaming Jets (Nov. 8), Child's Play (Nov. 9), King Missile (Nov. 14), Return To Zero (Nov. 15), Foreigner and XYZ (Nov. 16), Tommy Conwell (Nov. 22), Lita Ford (Nov. 23) and Blues Traveler (Dec. 14).

Goucher Hall's Kraushaar Auditorium has The BoDeans (Nov. 8). And Shriver Hall at Johns Hopkins University has The Pixies and Pere Ubu (Nov. 22).

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