January 27, 2010
Red Devil Lounge
Better Than: the State of the Union, or the Nigerian underwear bomber
Berlin-based Nigerian Nneka delivered an intimate scolding to the crowd Wednesday, while moving them to jerk knees and hips to her radical Afro-funk ballads and ciphers. The chiseled-faced soulstress opened her tour for the new U.S.-released compilation Concrete Jungle at Red Devil Lounge.
Plenty of local Nigerian immigrants showed up to support their fellow expatriate, but she returned many Igbo and Yoruba cheers with lectures about capitalism and political indifference.
"This is not a joke," Nneka said. "There's a lot of trouble back home. Go back home and do something."
Wearing her trademark "Africa is the Future" gym-equipment hoodie, Nneka showcased her vocal versatility in front of the reggae-pop beats installed by her band. Maybe it was the venue's close quarters, but her songs achieved a quality much closer to the listener than the generalized backgrounding given on her record.