Sign up for our mailing list Real artists creating records on their own terms
Close

Sign up for our mailing list

News

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Antibalas - Chicago Tribune Review

By Bob Gendron Special to the Tribune Published April 30, 2007

Hoisting a large piece of silver sheet metal over his head, Antibalas vocalist/percussionist Amayo briefly glanced at the Park West crowd as if to give them warning before bringing the noise. Shaking the material, which upon contact produced a thunderstorm of crackling sounds and lightninglike reflections, brought a violent end to "Beaten Metal," a composition whose wordless structure and organic improvisation were all the rage at a Friday night concert where messages of resistance often took the form of hypnotic grooves rather than declarative statements.

Celebrated for its political remarks and tireless performances, Antibalas has established itself as Afrobeat's primary torchbearers, an ensemble that intrigues on record but mesmerizes onstage. Partially because of a lackadaisical, medium-size audience (more than a third of which left the 2-hour show before it concluded), and partially because the set had too many extended instrumentals and too few vocalized songs, the Brooklyn-based group was unable to sustain its usual artist-audience dynamic. Not that the percussive-heavy music -- an African-cum-Latin blend of frenzied funk, guitar-scratched R&B and organ-stoked jazz -- or animated band members were responsible for the energy deficit.

When he wasn't tapping hand drums and banging cowbells, Amayo danced as if he were stepping on hot coals. Lanky trumpeter Jordan McLean provided comedic relief and approached the microphone as the Minister of Paranoia, sarcastically addressing the connection between cell phones and bees before leading the 11-member collective into "Government Magic."

And the four-piece horn section, whose brassy dialogues were played as alternating bursts, gave a simmer-down reggae feel to "Sanctuary" and a sassy sway to a cover of Fela Kuti's "Ikoyi Blindness."

Still, on an evening during which concertgoers seemed tired, the mysterious, albeit slow-moving "I.C.E." seemed out of place, inspiring table talk instead of sweaty motion.

With multiple harmonies, desert-blues riffs and swinging vibes, "War Hero" proved the opposite, its polyrhythmic spree showing how protest can be both barbed and fun.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-0704290260apr30,1,1884321.st" target="_blank">www.chicagotribune.com

Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus
 

Browse by Artist

1443All Artists 92Tom Waits 54Mavis Staples 52Neko Case 51Lost In The Trees 50Sean Rowe 48Dr. Dog 41Jolie Holland
40Bettye LaVette 37Man Man 37The Milk Carton Kids 33Tim Fite 33DeVotchKa 31Islands 31Grinderman 29Tinariwen 27Galactic 27Wilco 24Michael Franti and Spe... 22Bob Mould 22William Elliott Whitmo... 21Nick Cave & The Bad Se... 21The Frames 21Son Little 20Joe Henry 19Booker T. Jones 19Sage Francis 19Saintseneca 17Yann Tiersen 16Ramblin Jack Elliott 16Jason Lytle 16John K. Samson 15Christopher Paul Stell... 13Daniel Lanois 13Billy Bragg 13Doe Paoro 12Xavier Rudd 12Andy Shauf 12Peter Silberman 11The Weakerthans 11Lyrics Born 11Rain Machine 11Mose Allison 11Roky Erickson 11The Antlers 10The Swell Season 10The Melodic 10Xenia Rubinos 9Marianne Faithfull 9N.A.S.A. 9Glen Hansard 9Deafheaven 8Solillaquists of Sound 8Cadence Weapon 8The Coup 8Cameron Avery 7Elliott Smith 7Eddie Izzard 7Greg Graffin 7Dead Man's Bones 7Alec Ounsworth 7Beth Orton 7Kelly Hogan 7Calexico 7Title Fight 7Prism Tats 7Delicate Steve 6A Girl Called Eddy 6Busdriver 6Os Mutantes 6Kate Bush 6Broken Twin 6So Much Light 6Jade Jackson 5One Day As A Lion 5The Field 5Keaton Henson 5Beat Connection 5Los Angeles Police Dep... 4Ersi Arvizu 4Marketa Irglova 4Pops Staples 4Japandroids 3Danny Cohen 3Sierra Leones Refugee... 3Petra Haden 3Cass McCombs 3The Drums 2Various Artists: RANGO 2Girlpool 2The Dream Syndicate 1Tricky 1Joe Strummer And The M... 1Youth Group 1Blackalicious 1Antibalas 1Porter Wagoner 1Various Artists: ROGUE... 1The Locust 1Rogue's Gallery 1Kronos Quartet with Br... 1Simian Mobile Disco 1case/lang/veirs 1Merle Haggard 1Jeff Tweedy
See Full List+