What do you even begin to say about an artist like Femi Kuti? Born in London to Nigerian afro-beat pioneer, Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti has become a legend in his own right, shining light on Nigerian politics through a danceable, global sound.
Femi Kuti stepped onto the Potawatomi Rock Stage with his nearly 15 piece "Positive Force" backup band for one of the best Summerfest shows I have seen thus far.
Taking the stage right at 10 p.m., Femi Kuti and The Positive Force maintained high energy for the full 90-minute set. A horn section, pianist, drummer and others joined Kuti on stage as he alternated between vocals and piano.
A three woman dance team provided sheer booty bumping energy, keeping the audience on its feet and in motion.
A scarcely attended show, especially in contrast to other side stages like Guster or Matisyahu, fans who navigated their way north to see Kuti were by no means disappointed.
Tradition exuding from every element of the show, Kuti follows in his father's footsteps, proclaiming the pride of Nigeria through band's dress, lyrics and overall emotion.
Kuti, known for his ability to saddle dub reggae right up to African beat, defines a new genre more specific than world music but more abstract than simply "reggae," "hip-hop" or "funk."
The crowd reiterated the dance-ability of Kuti's sound as swarms of people moved into isles and open areas to take advantage of space to truly get down.
As expected, Kuti's show followed in his father's afro-beat footsteps, but consciously layered elements of dub, hip-hop and electro-funk for a heavy bass-ridden sound. Combining hits from both old and new recordings, Femi played a classic collection of songs that kept the audience's attention straight through the evening.
"The Definitive Collection," a compilation released in 2007 highlighted Kuti's hip-hop influences with collaborations with Common, Mos Def and D'Angelo. His most recent recording, "Day by Day," includes…Read more...