Antibalas 7/18/2004: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA

New musical styles tend to blossom like flowers. First the bud of a revolutionary new band is formed, making music so differently it starts a revolution. The Grateful Dead started the jam band scene riding on the wave of electric music. Bill Monroe invented bluegrass, the hyper-realization of the country hill music of his youth. Miles Davis pulled out of jazz to create fusion. From each of these new forms, bands sprang out like petals, stretching out into new territory, sometimes even more artistically successful than the originals.

One of these proto-super bands was championed by a young African named Fela Kuti. Like Jam, Bluegrass and Fusion, his movement had a name: Afrobeat. Afrobeat is the synthesis of Jazz and driving African rhythms which Kuti used as the musical score for his political and social revolt. Afrobeat and world politics have come a long way since the seventies, but the formula remains the same, big brassy bands with lots of horns and plenty of anger.

Antibalas not only plays in the style of Fela Kuti, but also with the spirit. It is that driving spirit that helped to propel their live musical success. Any fan of jam music will instantly be attracted to their danceable music and primal beats. Museum members were disappointed when their view was blocked by the dancing hordes, which made the event that much more enjoyable. They were rebuffed from the stage by the band:

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