July 21, 2007
Better Than: Seeing a Fela cover band
Download: A Femi Kuti stream off his MySpace
Text and Photos By Eric K. Arnold
A Femi Kuti show isn’t a concert, it’s a ritual; Songs aren’t played as much as experienced, and the music’s ultimate goal seems to be a harmonic convergence of mind, body, and spirit under a tribal groove.
During Saturday night’s show, Fela’s son played maybe seven or eight tunes total over the course of almost two and a-half hours – unusual for pop music, but de rigeur for Afrobeat. At that pace, there was plenty of time for Femi’s band Positive Force to gel, and all evening, dense polyrhythms kept building and building to continually-higher levels of intensity.