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Afromotive - Live in Kalamazoo

I finally saw my friends' group play. Afromotive is a nine-piece afrobeat band from Asheville that plays West African music in the manner of Fela. I know all the guys in the horn section (even lent them by bari, which you can see in the pic), as well as the guitarist.

They played a great set in the aftenoon at the Island Fest. The sound was very good, not too loud, not distorted. This unit is tight, with serious grooves happening between the drummer (funky but restrained), the guitar (playing single note lines that interlock with the drums) and the super-steady percussion. This is punctuated by nasty horn lines (two saxes and a trumpet) and a keyboard player who keeps it tasteful and sparse. The bass player seems to be the musical director and is solid. The frontman, from Ivory Coast, has charsima and plays a mean djembe. I kicked back with a Guiness and enjoyed the show.

After a shower at the hotel we were off to Martinis for pizza, salad and a bottle of Italian wine. After dinner we went to Bell's Brewery (which makes some tasty brew) where Afromotive had a second gig. The band was crammed onto this little outdoor stage, all nine of them. There wasn't a big crowd, but those who were there were into it. Afterwards I partied with the band for a bit.

The group's tour included, besides Kalamazoo, shows in Chicago and Davenport, Iowa. Just like the territory bands of the old days, they travel on a small bus. But their bus runs on bio-diesel, so they just pull into Taco Bell and get the used grease from the fryer.


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May 2018



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