Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra

How did they get all those people on I/O's little stage? That was the recurring question during Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra's sweaty set there this past December. With a full horn section, percussionists, and an organist rounding out the fourteen-piece band, it was a wonder the singer didn't find himself crashing into either of the guitarists. Antibalas didn't leave too much time for thinking, though. Firm believers in the maxim that if you free your ass, your mind is sure to follow, the band never let up for a minute. Channeling the spirit of fabled Nigerian Afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti (via their own hometown of Brooklyn), they whipped through a set of thick funk that had the diverse crowd of hipsters, indie rockers, and barefoot Deadheads all frugging madly. Just imagine the cream of James Brown's get-on-the-good-foot riffs, not only taken to the bridge, but spun out for an entire evening. Yeah, it was that good.


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