This article was originally published in the Nashville Scene.
CHICAGO AFROBEAT The most obvious question with this Fela Kuti-inspired ensemble is: How are they different from fellow Afrobeat torchbearers Antibalas? Chicago Afrobeat proves Antibalas’ claim that Afrobeat is a genre unto itself that can be approached in myriad ways. Chicago Afrobeat distinguish themselves on a number of levels—seeing them on the same bill as Antibalas would even work—and highlight different (less arty) aspects of Kuti’s sound. They strip the music down to its essential components while retaining a grittiness that eludes Antibalas. The rhythms are snakier, the grooves funkier and the horn work edgier, creating a hypnotic space in which to get carried away—you might even get lost in dance, as well you should. 9 p.m. at Mercy Lounge; Saturday, 29th at Wall Street —SABY REYES-KULKARNI