Seun Kuti, who played the Boulder Theater on Thursday, has clearly inherited much of his father’s (Fela Kuti) charisma, and carries on with much of that original sound. He tore through the classic ‘70s material, mashed up with original cuts from his newest album, “From Africa With Fury” last night.
No matter what they’re playing, this band has power. We’re talking about the power of four percussionists, two guitars, a bass, five horns, a keyboard and two lady singers/dancers. That’s 15 people on one stage working to instill one massive groove right where it matters. The live element is crucial, perfectly illustrated in a recent statement from Kuti: “Afrobeat has to go from stage to studio, not studio to stage,” he says. “I don’t believe in going into the studio to write songs. You create music in the world, outside, in the environment. You create music with nature, not in the studio. You go to the studio to record, that’s it. Music created in the studio is commercial music, music that only wants to sell, that has nothing to do with the world.” It’d be hard to find a single person in attendance that disagreed.
With 10 young men and a girl playing a baritone sax that was almost as big as she was, Denver-based Atomga brought a beefy Afrobeat sound that shook the foundation of the venue. Some of the vocal segments seemed perhaps more suited to an R&B band, but at least they were sparse amongst all the polished instrumentation.
Cal Huss is a new contributor to Reverb.
Joshua Elioseff is a Boulder based photographer of everything, a self-professed music junkie and regular contributor to Reverb. Check his photos out on Facebook or his website.