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REVIEW: Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 @ WOW Hall (Eugene, OR – 3/18/12)

21st Mar 12 (Wed) 4 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

I have to be honest, part of me loves afrobeat due to it originating from my country of birth – Fela Kuti brought it to the forefront in Nigeria in the 1970s (I was born in Jos, Nigeria in the mid-70s as well).  Another part of me loves afrobeat due to how straight-up awesome that it is… blending and stirring folk, jazz, funk, rock, and world music into a brilliant, bubbling, oozing-through-your-pores musical and political form of expression.  It represents the struggle alongside the joy… and it’s got a funky beat I can dance to

Sadly, I missed Femi Kuti (elder son of Fela) when he came through a few years back.  But I love the music, and didn’t want to miss that opportunity again.  I got into the style via NYC-based Antibalas.  When I saw that Seun Anikulapo Kuti was coming to Eugene, I had to go…

had. to.

The opener was California based instrumental afrobeat band Afromassive.  The crowd was sparse at first, but near the middle of the set, the WOW Hall was beginning to fill out…

They played a 45 minute set of instrumental afrobeat songs and a James Brown cover… definitely fun and danceable.  They were an 8-piece band on this tour – lighter on the horns than what was to come, but definitely a horn-centered funky vibe.

They were a perfect warm-up for Sean Kuti and the Egypt 80 The Egypt 80 was Fela Kuti’s band that Seun started singing in as a young boy.  After his father died in 1997, Seun took over the band when he was only 14!  Many of the members in this 15-piece (!) touring band were active in the band when Fela was alive and kicking.

The set kicked off with singer / trumpeter Muyiwa Kunnuji (in purple below) getting things going on vocals for “Giant of Africa.”  During this song, each member of the horn section got a chance to come out and show off their chops with a solo…

Sean came out during the 2nd song with backup singers/dancers and his sax in tow.  He took over the bulk of the lead vocals duties, but most of the band pitched in for the shouts and choruses…

The band played a spirited set of anthems with large swaths of stunning musicianship.  The band, presumably the same from the album’s liner notes (as the album photo appears to be the same people), was made up of the aforementioned Seun on sax & vocals, Muyiwa on vocals and trumpet, Bidemi Adekunle on baritone sax, Gdabe Okunade and Lekan Animashaun on trumpets, Oyinade Adeniran on tenor sax, David Obayendo and Gbenga Alade on guitars, Kunle Justice on bass, Ajayi Raimi on drums, Kola Onasanya on percussion, Okon Iyamba on shekere, Wale Toriola on keyboards, and Iyabo Adeniran and Yetunde Ademiluyi on backing vocals and dancing.

Setlist: 90+ mins

  • Giant of Africa
  • African Soldier
  • Kalakuta Show [Fela Kuti]
  • Zombie [Fela Kuti]
  • African Problems
  • Rise
  • Mr. Big Thief
  • The Good Leaf
  • You Can Run
    No Encore (despite “Mosquito Song” listed)

Seun was drinking hot tea during part of the set… which couldn’t have helped with the heat on the packed stage.  His voice had been giving him troubles; so they ended their set without the listed “Mosquito” encore, despite the many cheers for an encore from the nearly-danced out crowd.  This was only the band’s fourth show on a 2-month long tour (full tour dates at the bottom).  I wish Seun rest and many large mugs of tea!

I picked up their most recent record, From Africa With Fury: Rise.  I dig it.  It’s available in CD or 12″ double-vinyl at the show… or over on the Amazons.  And next time a Kuti or other afrobeat band comes to town… get there.  You won’t be disappointed.

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… well, as I write this, it’s in a few hours… Skerik’s Bandalabra @ Cozmic Pizza (3/20).  After that, it’s Dan Bern @ Cozmic (3/27) and Ani DiFranco @ Roseland (3/31).

~Dan – np: Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80From Africa With Fury: Rise

SEUN KUTI & THE EGYPT 80 PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 – Spring 2012 U.S. Tour Dates
3/15 – SXSW – Austin, TX
3/16 – Neumo’s – Seattle, WA
3/17 – Mt. Tabor Theater – Portland, OR
3/18 – W.O.W. Hall – Eugene, OR
3/21 – Center for the Arts – Grass Valley, CA
3/23 – Moe’s – Santa Cruz, CA
3/24 – Mateel Cultural Center – Redway, CA
3/28 – Belly Up – Aspen, CO
3/29 – Boulder Theater – Boulder, CO
3/30 – Granada Theater – Lawrence, KS
3/31 – Englert Theater – Iowa City, IA
4/1 – House of Blues – Chicago, IL
4/4 – Variety – Atlanta, GA
4/5 – Duke Performances – Durham, NC
4/6- Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
4/7 – Club Helsinki – Hudson, NY
4/8 – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY
4/12 – UW Madison – Madison, WI
4/13 – Rhythm Foundation – Miami, FL
4/14 – The Cedar – Minneapolis, MN
4/15 – Coachella – Indio, CA
4/16 – Campbell Hall – Santa Barbara, CA
4/18 – UC San Diego – San Diego, CA
4/19 – Zellerbach Hall – Berkeley, CA
4/20 – UCLA Royce Hall – Los Angeles, CA
4/22 – Coachella – Indio, CA
4/24 – KTAOS Solar Center – Taos, NM
4/25 – Albuquerque Museum Amphitheater – Albuquerque, NM
4/27 – New Orleans Jazz Festival – New Orleans, LA
4/29 – Houston International Festival – Houston, TX
5/2 – House of Blues – New Orleans, LA
5/13 – Lake Eden Arts Festival – Black Mountain, NC

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Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 in Eugene [photos soon]

19th Mar 12 (Mon) Leave a comment

Youngest son of afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, Seun Anikulapo Kuti & the Egypt 80 hit Eugene’s WOW Hall on Sunday night… it was an amazing show!

More photos, setlist and review of the show to be posted by Wednesday morning are posted here.

~Dan

REVIEW: Antibalas @ Berbati’s Pan (Portland, OR – 7/19/10)

20th Jul 10 (Tue) 3 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Originating from Brooklyn, ANTIBALAS (aka Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra) is: AMAYO (Vocals & Percussion), VICTOR AXELROD (Organ/Clavinet), ERIC BIONDO (Trumpet), STUART BOGIE (Tenor Sax), MARCUS FARRAR (Shekere), MARCOS GARCIA (Guitar), AARON JOHNSON (Trombone), JORDAN MCLEAN (Trumpet), NICK MOVSHON (Bass), LUKE O’MALLEY (Guitar), MARTIN PERNA (Baritone Sax, founder) and CHRIS VATALARO (Drums).

They are sooooo fun in concert, words don’t do them justice.  I saw them back in 2007 in the Cincinnati area, and haven’t had a chance since now to see them again.  I’ve been Jonesin’ for an Antibalas fix.

They’ve been busy the last couple years with the multiple-Tony Award winning FELA! Broadway musical (a tribute to afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti).  This July, Antibalas is doing a mini-tour in pre-support for their upcoming album on Anti-Records (untitled as of now).  The Sway Machinery opened the Portland show…

They were a nice horn-infused Jewish five piece rock band.  Their MySpace billed them as “Other / Blues / Afrobeat.”  Outside of the horns, I didn’t really hear the afrobeat.  Definitely Judaic and bluesy –  I dug their sound.  The mix last night was a bit bass heavy, and the vocals got drowned out, but I liked their vibe overall.  Their line-up is fairly power-packed… guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood of Balkan Beat Box, drummer Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, bass saxophonist Colin Stetson of Arcade Fire and Tom Waits‘ band, and the trumpet and tenor sax horn section of the band Antibalas, Jordan McLean and Stuart Bogie.  They’ve got an album, Hidden Melodies Revealed, out on JDub Records (same record label as Balkan Beat Box, SoCalled, etc).

Antibalas went on a little after 10:15 and hit the ground running with their percussive, groove-laden, horn-drenched bombast.  Lead vocalist Amayo came out at the second song and started off on percussion before moving over to lead vocals…

The sound in the club got a little more balanced for Antibalas, whose 12 band members were tightly jamming away.  Great mix of horn-heavy tunes, percussion heavy tunes.  The packed house danced away to the fun beats.  I’m horrible with their song names, and they didn’t play as many lyrical songs; so no luck on a setlist this time around.  If anyone has a setlist, pass it along, please.

Antibalas jammed away for a fairly dancey, long set without showing signs of letting up.  A fantastic night!  I’m hoping they hit the PacNW again when they come back through to support their upcoming untitled record.  Portland, Eugene, anywhere really. :)

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

~Dan – np: Jon Madof’s RashanimMasada Rock 

ANTIBALAS & THE SWAY MACHINERY PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Antibalas July 2010 Tour Dates

  • 07.14.10 – San Diego, CA – Casbah
  • 07.15.10 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echoplex
  • 07.16.10 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
  • 07.17.10 – Garberville, CA – Reggae on the River
  • 07.19.10 – Portland, OR – Berbati’s Pan
  • 07.20.10 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
  • 07.22.10 – New York, NY – River to River Festival, Castle Clinton
  • 07.29.10 – Philadelphia, PA – Kimmel Center, Perelman Theater

Antibalas & Fishtank

15th May 10 (Sat) Leave a comment

Two unrelated world music tidbits…

Afrobeat group Antibalas is finally hitting the road again… specifically the West Coast (they’ve been involved in getting the Fela! musical going on Broadway the past year or so).  They’re thankfully swinging through my neck of the woods; so look for a review in mid-July:

Monday, 17 May 2010 – Webster Hall, New York, NY
Thursday, 15 July 2010 – The Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA
Friday, 16 July 2010 – Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA

Saturday, 17 July 2010 – Reggae On The River, Garberville, CA
Monday, 19 July 2010 – Berbati’s Pan, Portland, OR
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 – Neumos, Seattle, WA
Thursday, 22 July 2010 – Castle Clinton, New York, NY

http://www.antibalas.com/

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Second up… gypsy/folk quartet Fishtank Ensemble has their new CD out, Woman in Sin.  They played songs from it when I saw them at a Eugene house show in early March.  Great tunes!!  They’re on a mini-California CD release tour right now…

(click to order)

May 12 – Berkeley, CA – Freight and Salvage
May 13 – Arcata CA – Arcata Playhouse
May 14 – Nevada City – North Columbia Schoolhouse

May 15 – Point Arena, CA – Arena Theatre
May 16 – Sebastopol, CA – Hopmonk Tavern
May 18 – Sacramento, CA – Firehouse 5
May 19 – Santa Cruz, CA – Moes Alley
May 21 – Briceland – Octagon at Beginnings
May 23 – San Louis Obispo – Cal Poly Performing Arts Center
May 29 – Claremont, CA – Folk Music Center
May 30 – Irvine, CA – Lightning in a Bottle Festival

http://www.fishtankensemble.com/

~Dan – Kaki KingJunior

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