Elikeh - I saw this local band open for Toure last year (previous review). They did a great job then and did a great job tonight. They had singer/rhythm guitarist from Togo originally coupled with a rhythm section, conga player, lead guitarist and two saxophones who also added percussion. I don't know much about Togo, other than Emmanuel Adebayor, but I don't think that matters a whole lot as it is a mixed band and brings combined styles into an excellent final product. The lead guitarist was hot and I liked that the saxophones did not overwhelm. They could not help but lend a certain jazz feel, but they dropped to the background often and let the other players in. This guy I met, Felipe, reminded me of the great African percussion group, Osibisa, who I do recall. A good band worth seeing on its own around town, but thankfully were given the call again to open for the headliner tonight.
Vieux Farka Toure - This great guitarist, son of a great guitarist, put on one of the best sets I saw last year and delivered the goods again tonight. Unfortunately, this time it was at a jam packed DC9 as opposed to the Rock'n'Roll Hotel. It was close to sold out on a Monday night and was jammed to the gills downstairs before the show as the DC9 was late as usual in allowing people up. But the vibe was all good once the music flowed. The first song was amazing in its sinewy playing and reminded me heavily of Turkish great, Erkin Koray. And although Toure eventually played music very different from Koray, they do share a similarity of bringing their regional style to the world by combing some classic rock, blues and psyche elements to the mix. Toure's band is not overwhelming in size, just in the delivery. He has a rhythm section, conga player, and acoustic guitarist. The congas and his leads are the main attraction with the other three laying it down for those two to go wild. My African musicologist friend (he's lived in Mali for many years) next to me was able to describe some of the differences in songs such as the northern Mali songs he played which had a more snaky upper body dance flow than the other Mali songs with a punchier beat. But Toure then goes where he wants to whenever he wants to and makes great music out of it. Jimi Hendrix was channeled and he played some of his father's music as well. Hopefully his legend will continue to grow and he can play the bigger clubs in town with the growing fan base he deserves.
Quote of the Night: Toure, after the opening cut waving his hand and getting a wave and hellos back from the crowd... "That's to the technician actually, but hello".