Malcolm X Park Drummers - Five to seven drummers on various African style drums. The leader of this outfit (admitting he only leads because he is the loudest) explains three or four times that they and dozens of others go to Malcolm X Park every Sunday from about 3-9pm and just drum away. It is open and it sounds like fun. They admit they are just simply put together tonight and bang out some decent rhythms, but this won't have you thinking Osibisa. Accepted well by the crowd, there was still such amateurish endings, that there was not much reaction. However, it was an interesting opener that reminded me of the tossed together makeshift bands that would start things off at punk shows in days of old.
The Chariots - Looks and sounds like a dancehall band from the opening notes as drums, congas, sax, keys, trumpets and guitar get things going. No wait, there's a vocalist jumping on stage that came straight from a 2-Tone record album cover. So it's ska! Well done for the most part without anything beyond what you would expect, but perfect for a crowded dance floor on a Saturday night. The sound struggled a bit when they tried to rock out as it was pretty much a mudslide. But the more rhythmic moments (which was 95% of the time) sounded just fine. More heart and energy than memorable songs here, but the rhythms were good and everything felt right during their 45 minute set.
Elikeh - I am not going to spend a whole lot of time discussing the details of this band. You can read many of my back reviews (and see some blurbs at their website). I first caught this Afrocentric collective opening for the great Vieux Farka Toure a few years back. They surprised me as they were not far behind Toure in talent and songs and they have easily worked their way into headlining their own shows around here. And that has worked out fine for the band and the clubs, as this crowded evening is becoming the norm for this band. Another sign of the success was how quickly the crowd started and dancing and moving. Sure, this is Saturday night and the band was in fine form with plenty of rhythms, quality guitar work, and loads of brass and winds. But this band has a fanbase that is still growing. If you like this sort of music even slightly, do get aboard and enjoy one of the finer bands this area has to offer.
Promo of the Night: Should have mentioned this earlier, but there is a long running series returning to radio this week featuring live music from area bands. Tonight Dot Dash, The Plums, and the Electricutions kick things off. I have enjoyed all of these bands in the past and this is a weekly show, so there will be a lot more to come. It's on WMUC on your radio or on-line and begins at 6pm every Sunday.