Monday, June 23, 2008

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

On Saturday myself, the wife and our good friend Shambo braved the three hour drive north to Los Angeles to go and see Fela's sprog Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 in concert at the historical and iconic El Rey Theatre on Wilshire.

We ended up getting to LA a bit later than planned but way too early for the show and I asked three guys outside the theatre where we could park and about halfway through asking them I realized that I was talking to guys who had lived with and played with the mighty Fela and got well and truly starstruck. Fela is, as I'm sure you're aware, one of my heroes and meeting members of his band was easily one of the highlights of my life. Walking on cloud nine already at this point we found a Mexican fusion place and settled in to eat tacos, drink far too many margaritas, knock back a few cold ones and as you can imagine we got suitably excited for the night ahead.

The show kicked off with the band leader coming out and introducing every member one by one, each greeted with warm applause and he expertly got the crowd whipped up well and truly into a frenzy. The place was about 3/4s full but there was a huge roar when Seun did eventually make his way on stage. Some members of the band wore t-shirts that said 'Afrobeat Rules' and they well and truly missed a trick by not having the t-shirts available to purchase from the merch stand.

I really like this picture of Seun whose tattoo on his back says, "Fela Lives." His brother, Femi, has the same tattoo.

Seun was a demon on the horn and Egypt 80 are incredibly tight with not a single bum note played throughout the two hour show and they were well and truly in their groove from first song until encore. Incredible musicians.

Some of you may recognize the pose but it was Seun's way of paying respect to his father. Having said that he's definitely his own musician and his own work, of which his set was entirely based, is incredibly strong and well worth some of your hard-earned. His between song banter was at times poignant and at times seriously funny. One of his female backing singers came down to the front of the stage during the encore to shake her arse and every redblooded male in the place got even more excited, if that was even possible. I was incredibly impressed and even getting stuck in a traffic jam on the 405-S at one in the morning couldn't take the smile off my face. One of those life-affirming concerts that makes collecting and loving music so worthwhile. If he comes anywhere near you I have to implore you to go.

For more pictures click here.

During Fire Dance he did a little call and response and the place was going mental, when you listen to this, and I do hope it'll be as loudly as possible, imagine 300 people shouting 'Fire!' back - a truly electric atmosphere.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - Fire Dance

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