Green’s Dictionary of Slang

band n.2

(US black) $1,000.

Chief Keef ‘Finally Rich’ [lyrics] I got diamonds all in my watch, horses all in my cars / I get 10 bands for a bar — I know I'm finally rich.
67 ‘Dead Up’ [lyrics] I need more bands so I get my bread up.

SE, meaning a flat strip, in slang uses

In phrases

belly-band (n.) [SE belly-band, the strap that passes round the belly of a horse in harness]

a wide belt, a corset.

[UK]W.N. Glascock Naval Sketchbk I 17: Perceiving the officer of marines loosening his sash [...] he gruffly exclaimed, ‘d—n your belly-band soldier! bear a-hand and bale out the soup’.
[[UK]N&Q 12 Ser. IX 345: Bellybands. Cholera belts issued to British troops].
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 231: She was well primed with a good load of Delahunt’s port under her bellyband.
blue bands (n.) [packaging]

(drugs) barbiturates.

[US] ‘Drug Sl. Vault’ on Erowid.org [Internet] Blue bands Barbiturates.
red band (n.) [the red band around the arm that denotes privileged status]

(US prison) a trusty, i.e. a prisoner given special privileges.

[UK]P. Tempest Lag’s Lex. 177: red collar. The forerunner of the redband. [...] Today the redband is a common sight in most prisons.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 26: That meant I was a Red Band, a trusty who could move freely about the prison without having to be escorted by a screw.
[UK]J. Campbell Gate Fever 65: The use of prisoners as ‘trusties’ or ‘red bands’ is as old as prisons themselves.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 146: Some redbands are sweet, like governor’s orderly tell you anything.
[UK]Guardian G2 15 June 7: He had made sufficient progress to have secured a job as a ‘red band’ (trusty) working on duties unsupervised.

SE, meaning a musical group, in slang uses

In compounds

band moll (n.) [moll n. (1)]

(Aus./US) a woman who associates herself with rock or jazz bands, offering her body for a share in their celebrity.

[US]New Yorker 5 Dec. 167: ‘Groupies’ reveals a way of life that has shock and curiosity value for the audience. The subject of baby bandmolls is such a good one.
band rat (n.) [-rat sfx]

a woman who associates herself with musicians, usu. offering sex in return for proxy celebrity.

[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 93: Hungry young hustlers hustle dissatisfied old cats and ancient glass-eyed satyrs make passes at bandrats.
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 175: Get off my back, you vitch you! You band rat!

In phrases

beat the band (v.) [one drowns out the band]

(orig. US) to surpass comprehensively; esp. in excl. that beats the band! that’s beyond rival/compare!

[US]Washington Bee (DC) 18 Dec. 8/1: These christians (in name) raised sufficient ‘cain’ to beat the band.
[US]Rock Is. Argus (IL) 6 Aug. 5/1: [advert] Well! If That Doesn’t Beat the band!
[US]Palestine Dly Herald (TX) 30 July 1/5: [He] has fitted up a diminutive toy engine [...] fired up the engine by electricty, and has her running to beat the band.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy Abroad 221: Well, sir, I have been in lots of tight places before, but this beats the band.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Sept. 13/1: ‘Well, sparemedays, it beatstha band / ’Ow these things workeround! / But after wotcher say,’ sizee, / ‘I’ll standja ina pound.’.
[UK]E. Blair in College Days (Eton) 4 1 Apr. in Complete Works X (1998) 64: What yours truly went through here four years gone just beats the whole jazz-band.
[US]Wash. Herald (DC) 23 Oct. 38/6: I found her smokling cigarettes to beat the band.
[US]C. Woofter ‘Dialect Words and Phrases from West-Central West Virginia’ in AS II:8 348: beat the band (verb phrase), (1) an expression of surprise.
[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 282: ‘This beats t’band, this does.’ And he chuckles.
[Ire]S. Beckett Murphy (1963) 121: ‘Well, that beats the band,’ said Ticklepenny.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 8: ‘Bury him on his face?’ I says, incredulous-like. ‘You’re joking!’ ‘Those are the instructions, Joe,’ Mr. Wood says. ‘It beats the band,’ I says. ‘What the idea?’.
V.C. Hall Dreamtime Justice 92: Well! this beat the band.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
brass band with a leader (n.)

(US) pork and beans; thus brass band without a leader, beans without the pork.

[US] ‘Dict. of Diningroom Sl.’ in Brooklyn Daily Eagle 3 July 13: ‘Brass band, without a leader,’ is a plate of beans without pork.
[US]L.A. Times 9 Apr. 5: ‘Brass band with leader’—pork and beans.
haircut band (n.)

a band that is mocked for being more interested in style than music.

[UK]Guardian Rev. 15 Oct. 11: Far from being a ‘haircut band’ (the worst possible insult), the Charlatans and their twirly Hammond organ kick US-friendly ass.
then the band played (also play the band)

a phr. describing the point at which the problems really began, when things became serious.

[UK]Dundee Eve. Teleg. 12 July 2/4: Maud— That’s the brute that proposed to me [...] He ought to have known beforehand that I should refuse him. Papa— Perhaps he did (Then the band played).
[Aus]E. Dyson Fact’ry ’Ands 90: Ho, won’t ther band play when His Whiskers come ’ome t’ mother, ’n’ hears ther full perticklers.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 243/2: Then the band played (Parliamentary). Climax, finality. Derived from the use of brass bands on the nomination day, which immediately sounded when the opponent of their employer attempted to address the people.
[UK]Dundee Courier 12 Sept. 7/3: Then, my dear, the band played, I can assure you.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 93: Sweating like that on a night like this here, you’ll catch your death of double ammonia. Then the band won’t half play. [Ibid.] 129: If you hadn’t let the coppers follow you, [...] we’d be all right. As it is, they’re playing the bloody band all round the house.
to beat the band (adv.) (also to beat the cars) [one drowns out the band]

(US) to the utmost, very much.

[US]J.L. Williams Princeton Stories 175: Why I just sit down and pole to beat the band.
[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 37: She made up her mind to be Benevolent to beat the Band.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 104: Some folks says your life is grand, / That you make dough to beat the band.
[UK]Wodehouse Gentleman of Leisure Ch. xiii: Look at me. Gittin’ busy all de year round, woikin’ to beat de band—.
[UK]A.S.G. Lee letter in No Parachute (1968) 25 May 25: Dimmock strumming at the piano and everyone gathering round him, bellowing to beat the band.
[US]‘J.M. Hall’ Anecdota Americana I 60: The dame I had last night hollored to beat the band.
[US](con. 1920s) Dos Passos Big Money in USA (1966) 1026: Margo [...] acted the jealous bitch and started making over Cassidy to beat the cars.
[UK]J. MacLaren-Ross ‘A Bit of a Smash in Madras’ in Memoirs of the Forties (1984) 291: Bags of natives sprawling about the corridors, all chattering to beat the band.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 23: I was shikkered to beat the band.
[US]G. Cuomo Among Thieves 286: Everybody hooting and hollering to beat the band, having a hell of a time giving old Manson the bird.
[US]T.C. Bambara ‘Raymond’s Run’ in Gorilla, My Love (1972) 32: I’m smiling to beat the band.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 6: It was raining to beat the band.
[US]R. Campbell Wizard of La-La Land (1999) 98: Nixon, they say, went off laughing fit to beat the band.