SM PIER — As Hurricane Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast the disruptions it’s causing forced Hot 8 Brass Band to cancel an appearance at this Thursday’s Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier.
As the storm approached their native New Orleans the band’s management scrambled to find a quick retreat for the act with buses, trains and planes hard to come by.
“I’ve been on the phone with [the band] for the past 24 hours,” said a spokesman for Baylin Artists Management, which handles the band. “We were trying to get them there, but storms can be a tricky thing.
“That’s how it goes with weather and touring.”
As the hurricane approached landfall on Tuesday, airports and transit lines from southern Louisiana to Biloxi, Miss. were closed with trips either canceled or diverted. It left the band with little choice but to hunker down, which is what officials in New Orleans are urging residents to do.
The massive storm comes on the seven-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and swaths of the nearby coast. Isaac is not expected to cause the same level of damage, but the closures of major transportation lines were still warranted due to the expected strength of the storm.
Isaac was upgraded to a category 1 hurricane on Tuesday afternoon with winds gusting to 100 mph as of presstime.
There was talk of having the band travel to Houston to make the trip to Los Angeles, but just two of the band’s eight members made the journey.
“Securing their homes and families was more of a priority for the band, and I understand that,” said Rum & Humble’s Martin Fleischmann, the concert series’ promoter. “We had to make the decision to find an apt replacement.”
It was the second time during this year’s series that a band canceled. Jamaica-based The Mighty Diamonds were unable to secure visas and missed the July 12 show.
Fleischmann worked his connections in the music industry and found The Pimps of Joytime, a funk and soul band out of Brooklyn that happened to be in California to play a show in Santa Cruz.
They will headline the show. Leo Nocentelli, one of the founding members of New Orleans rock/funk band The Meters, is opening. The concert is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
“It’s a difficult situation all around,” Fleischmann said. “It was an act of God, but that doesn’t make it less disappointing.”