red lights


Afro beats thunder
in the night

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Onopa Brewing Company
Milwaukee, WI
June 19 & 20, 2004

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra

Review and Photos by Matt Schwenke

Performing for two consecutive nights at the Onopa Brewery, the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, an eleven member ensemble out of New York, provided a party atmosphere with the music to back it up. Both nights featured a DJ for the opening act, One-F the Shingleshakers on Sat. and Super Noble Bros on Sun., which set the anticipation to hear the sounds of live instruments and voices.
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra When Antibalas did take the stage, the crowd instantly started dancing and toe-tapping throughout the bar. The trance-like use of African/Cuban rhythms played by an army of musicians made the experience powerful and engaging. The solid rhythm section marched the music and the crowd along all night while the horns and other instruments often floated free with very vocal solos. Many of the songs played over the two nights were from the band's latest album Who Is This America, which was released in early June. Lead singer Duke Amayo sang with an inspired passion both nights and commanded a spirited response from the crowd with his performance on the songs "Talkatif," "Sister," and "Who Is This America dem Speak of..." All of the members of the band sang backing vocals throughout both shows and the audience was invited to sing along in a call-and-answer style.
Also helping to ignite a constantly moving dance floor both nights was the smaller stage and intimate setting of the Onopa Brewing Company. Besides being able to feel the horns and percussion when close to the stage, the band's interaction with audience made these shows unique. There were fans dancing on stage one night and musicians dancing in the crowd on the other. Antibalas was excellent during these live performances by making the fans a part of the show and by playing with a contagious energy.

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra

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