Monday, July 12, 2010

The Roots & OkayAfrica@Prospect Park Bandshell, July 11th

My god, yesterday at the Prospect Park Bandshell for Celebrate Brooklyn! was perhaps the biggest crowd I've seen there, ever. By the time Bestest Boy and I got into the Friends line at 4pm, the regular line extended around beyond where we could see. I was so glad we had our passes.

We were lured into venturing out in the questionable weather (it was 90+ degrees out, muggy, and raining at times) mainly by headliners Talib Kweli and The Roots (both of whom I hadn't seen since a very sweaty show at Webster four years ago). The long afternoon showcased lots of other music, however, as this afternoon also served as the launch of Okay Africa, a new blog highlighting music that is African and/or African-influenced. We got a tease of The Roots to open the show, and then emcee Sahr Ngaujah, the star of Broadway's Fela!, led us through a lineup of bands from several African nations. We heard from diverse bands such as Dragons of Zynth, Zakee, Baja + The Dry Eye Crew, and Ngaujah himself, but my personal favorite was hearing the excellent hip hop artist Blitz the Ambassador from Ghana, who made the crowd forget the sticky humidity and got us on our feet, with his rapid lightning lyrics and big horn sound.

Unfortunately, Bestest Boy had an early call time the next morning, so we had to leave before Talib Kweli and The Roots' main set since the show was running up to an hour late. Even with our premature departure, we didn't feel that the time spent in the gross outdoors was a complete waste of time, for we did get a good 3+ hours of entertainment.

(More pics after the jump.)

Ozomatli @Prospect Park Bandshell, July 9th

If I had to characterize LA band Ozomatli's sound, it would not be an easy task, for they play music with a sound that varies as much as its performers, ranging from rock to hip hop to Latin to R&B to soul...anyway, you get the idea. With every song came a different lead vocalist from the prior. A few of the band members also proved adept at playing multiple instruments. Also, with such different styles, the band was able to cover much ground in terms of sentiment, be it political or love or just plain fun. What resulted was a great energetic blend that had the crowd stomping, clapping and dancing along with the beat.

(More words and pics after the jump.)

Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree @Smithville Town Square (TN), July 3rd

Last weekend, we traveled down to Smithville, TN, about an hour east of Nashville for some family-related fun. Our trip coincided with the 39th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree, a two-day bluegrass country music festival in which musicians and dancers from across the region squared off against each other in judged competition in numerous categories, culminating in some eventual winners. We arrived at the Town Square in time for the last few hours of the jamboree, so we got to witness some of the finest banjo-pickin' and strummin' that side of the Mississippi, or something like that.

(More words and pics after the jump.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

JG Thirlwell @Prospect Park Bandshell, June 18th

We rallied up the troops for this Celebrate Brooklyn show at Prospect Park because our friend Karen (of The Roulette Sisters) was playing in a twenty piece orchestra led by composer JG Thirlwell. They performed his Steroid Maximus project as well as some music from The Venture Brothers (which pleased Bestest Boy a lot, he being a fan of the Cartoon Network show). What does this all mean, you might ask? Well, for orchestra music, this was perhaps the grooviest, funkiest stuff I've ever heard live in such a format, sounding like something straight off of a '70s James Bond soundtrack. I often expected some villains to storm across the stage. It was quite fantastic to see the audience bopping their heads and feet along to the retro beat.

(More words and pics after the jump.)