While most of the world indulged in premium television last Sunday night, I was lucky enough to catch Antibalas for the second time in one week at S.O.B.’s in Manhattan.
So where do I start with this group? The chemistry alone, on their scale, is a sight to be seen/heard.
Second, the performance is amazing music accented with beautiful poetry. As a waiter in NYC for the past year, Amayo, the very talented lead vocalist, said something that resonated with me deeply (and seemingly much of the crowd).
“As New Yorkers we are used to magic… Either we are living the life we want to live, or we are working to live the life we want to live.”
Antibalas create a wall of sound. With 2 guys on guitar, 1 on bass, 2 on sax, 1 on trumpet, 1 on trombone, 1 on congas, 1 on drums, 1 on Shekere, and one on the keys it was an incredible nod to the world’s music, with sounds from Cuba, Africa and Jamaica recognizable. I don’t know what they were going for exactly, aside from the afro-beat label, but I felt as if I was on an express subway around the globe!
This group is a part of a music scene second to none, and I frankly don’t know if they could thrive in any other market. New York’s melting pot culture allows for 200-or-so concert goers to see an afro-beat band on a Sunday night. Where else in the world does that happen?