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…
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
- 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:
- Seun Kuti’s Site
- Seun Kuti’s Social Media Links (see below)
- Afromassive’s Site
- Afromassive’s Facebook / MySpace
- My Other Afrobeat Reviews~
- WOW Hall’s Site / Facebook / Twitter
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).
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
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.