Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (2004)

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, the Culture Room, Monday, April 28, 2003

Historically speaking, Monday night is clubland wasteland. After a weekend of partying, folks tend to use Monday for rest and recuperation. Most club owners and talent bookers hate to schedule bands on a Monday night, especially out-of-town acts without a proven track record in these parts. In fact, this inaugural visit from New York City's Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra could very well have ended up one of those embarrassments plagued by a pitiful turnout. Yet not only was the Culture Room filled with spectators this particular Monday evening, the pure Afro-funk energy turned them into bona-fide participants. Encapsulating the energy, spirit, and politicized venom of deceased Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the 13-piece orchestra turned this bar at Oakland Park Boulevard and Federal Highway into a sweaty Lagos discothèque, with each and every soul compelled to dance in a most uninhibited fashion. Even after a year, just the memory of that punchy horn section and those sinuous polyrhythms is enough to make feet do a phantom tap for old times' sake.


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