April 13, 2010

V4YS Concert Review - Femi Kuti & The Positive Force - Casino de Paris (12/04/10)

 Femi Kuti and his band were playing yesterday night at the Casino de Paris, which is a beautiful classical mid-sized theather in central Paris.
A long-time fan of Femi's work, I had not been attending one of his gig for at least 3 or 4 years, so I could not resist the temptation!

Femi and his Positive Force band were 14 on stage. Most band members were rather young, probably coming from a new generation of musicians that Femi, true to the tradition of his father, keeps nurturing in his legendary homebase, "The Shrine" in Lagos, Nigeria.
The band  focused on tunes from their latest release "Day By Day" but also played tracks from previous albums.
They alternated between some of their killer afrobeat classics such as "Sorry Sorry", "Beng Beng Beng" or "Shotan" and lighter west-african grooves, typical of Femi's style and omnipresent in the "Day By Day" album. For instance please check in the live video below like the wonderful version of "They Will Run", which was my favorite song in the show.

French slam artist Abd-Al-Malik also joined the band as a guest to add his fresh and spontaneous lyrics flow on the track "Do You Know".

As usual with Femi, his stage presence, charisma and powerful voice were outstanding. His unique alto-sax and clarinette sound and the sincerity of his humanist and fraternal message also made of this concert a great moment.

There is only a small hitch to me : I've always found that Femi's concerts lack a bit of improvisation. His band is mostly "supporting" him, they do it very well for sure but I would enjoy a bit more "crazyness", which you often find in many contemporary afrobeat bands shows. This was the case again this time, apart from 3 or 4 planned solos from his guitarist, trombone and tenor sax players, there were no moment of improvisation.

This small remark apart, the man confirmed again yesterday that he is a cornerstone of the current musical afro scene.

And good news for you! If you were not there you can still enjoy this evening as the always tasteful french-german tv network Arte had the good idea to make a video recording of the gig and broadcast it for free on its website, (or player below) :

Attempt of tracklisting (I need help at the end! Use the comment section) :
- Do Your Best (start to 10mn31s)
- They Will Run (splendid version) (10mn32s to 16mn44s)
- Do You Know Feat. Abd Al Malik (16mn45s to 29mn10s)
- You Better Ask Yourself (29mn11s to 35mn31s)
- Eh Oh (35mn32s to 38mn52s)
- Oyimbo (38mn53s to 42mn32s)
- If Them Want To Hear (with long intro speach) (42mn33s to 50mn10s)
- Can't Buy Me (50m11s to 56mn04s)
- Shotan (56mn05s to 62mn50s)
- Inside Religion (62mn51s to 73mn01s)
- Sorry Sorry (73mn02s to 81mn59s)
- Beng Beng Beng (with long funny speach inside) (82mn00s to 92mn00s)

Encore part :(need some help to identfy the tracks here, they may be new actually) :
-Beng Beng Beng Break (92mn08s to 95mn01s)
-Did not recognize this one! (95mn02s to 98mn54s)
-This one neither (98mn55s to 102mn23s)
-This one neither (102mn24s to 106mn04s)
-Final Instrumental break : (106mn05s to end)

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