Toubab Krewe – Pour House, Charleston SC 10.29.09

The crowd was sparse as we walked in on the skewed rockabilly duo, Mad Tea Party. Featuring a cute, grinning blonde singer and ukulele player, and a bespectacled multi-instrumentalist on guitar and lead vocals, they rollicked through an energetic sampling of old-fashioned tunes and a few campy selections off their recent Halloween album, Zombie Stomp.


The end of the set break brought in the hordes from the back deck, and Toubab Krewe kicked things off with verve and a palpable sense of community. “Hello Family” led into “Nirvana Buffalo” and “Gine Fare,” and the hometown crowd—and let me assure, all the freaks were out for this one—loved every second of it. The band’s combustible mixture of Malian tradition, highlife style, chunky grooves and amped-up rock kept the dance floor hot, and the frequent interjections on kora and soku grounded the proceedings in the earthy, raw sounds of West Africa. Luke Quaranta certainly knows his way around a djembe, as well as the rest of his percussive arsenal, and the snaking Ali Farka Touré–esque guitar lines traded by Drew Heller and Justin Perkins slid naturally around the concussive rhythm.


Although the peaks-and-valleys jamming style occasionally drew a little long on the peaks, the band’s propulsion never flagged and the vibe remained on point. Highlights included a baggy “Kaira,” which featured Jason from Mad Tea Party on violin, and the doomsday rocker “Buncombe 2 Badala” as the closer. Throughout the set, psychedelia mixed freely with surf-rock and dirty, backwoods funk, often exploding into a crescendo of noisy—in the best possible way—ecstatic fusion.

Related Content

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide