When Michael Franti summons “how you feelin?” people respond. This was clearly the case at Boston’s Avalon Ballroom as Michael Franti and Spearhead had 1,500 bodies jumping to their rockin reggae rhythms, while fans responded with full lung capacity to Franti’s vigorous calls.
Displaying his dissaproval on George W. Bush’s war, Franti and Spearhead started out their set with “Time To Go Home”, later rhyming his way through “East to West,” a heavily reggae-influenced song that speaks to Franti’s idealistic dreams of universal brotherhood and a world without borders. Franti drew attention to his guitarist, Dave Shul, and in standard bluesman tradition, gave his sidekick a chance to shine as he worked his way through a solo of reggae-blues fusion.
As the show wore on, Franti played a trick, performing Sublime’s “What I Got,” while squeezing “C is for Cookie” in between the verses. By taking a tune plenty of folks affiliate with dazed-out youth and meshing it with one that speaks to the inner child, Franti illustrates his ability to take a crowd full of concert-goers and make them feel like family.
When Michael Franti and Spearhead returned to the stage for an encore, they brought with them an old friend who recently wrapped up his duty in Iraq to join them on stage. Franti used the moment as an opportunity to echo his feelings on the world around him through the lyrics of “I Know I’m Not Alone.”
After the show, Michael Franti gave his take on the Boston show by mentioning, “Boston has a certain level of hooliganism that I really like, and what I mean by that, is that people aren’t afraid to put their beer up in the air and sing a song.” It was also obvious to everyone in attendance that Michael Franti and Spearhead impressed their Bostonian crowd with the energy and enthusiasm they put into their roles as performers.
Photo by Scott Fleishman