This article by Janine Schaults originally appeared on the Illinois Entertainer.
If the Chicago Afrobeat Project sent out snail-mail invitations to this weekend’s 10th anniversary/CD release celebration, we imagine that a sprinkling of golden saxophone-shaped confetti and the dulcet tones of Sam Cooke’s “Having A Party” would explode from the colorful notes upon opening. Since musical cards are bulky (not to mention expensive, just ask Hallmark), a Facebook event page will have to do. The collective prefers to save the fireworks for the stage anyway. Saturday’s wild rumpus commemorates two milestones in the group’s history – a decade in the biz and the unveiling of a fourth full-length, Nyash Up! (Jan. 8).
From Lake Street loft parties to cross-country tours and shared bills with Seun Kuti, son of Afrobeat architect Fela Kuti, these locals revere the genre’s socially conscious percussive traditions without succumbing to its constraints. Nyash Up! finds guitarist David Glines along with Garrick Smith (baritone sax), Kevin Ford (keyboards), Angelo Garcia (tenor sax), Graham Czach (bass), Justin Boyd (drums), and Danjuma Gaskin on (congas) toying with rock (Led Zeppelin), new wave (Talking Heads), and metal (System Of A Down). By filtering the familiar through CAbP’s unique, floor-shaking prism, the band drains Radiohead of its frosty sterility, like a vampire turn in reverse. This warm-blooded flush overpowers “Inner City Blues Makes Ya Wanna Holler” thanks to full-bodied vocals from Ugochi and Squair Blaq. More Sonia Dada than originator Marvin Gaye, the single features the band’s signature burning horn blasts – the musical equivalent to Truman Capote’s “mean reds.”
Specials guests JC Brooks (of Uptown Sound fame), Nathaniel Braddock, Ugochi and Ayodele Drum & Dance movers and shakers add to the carnival atmosphere. (Saturday@Double Door with Occidental Brothers Dance Band, Fatbook, and Bloco Maximo.)