Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Sunday, Oct. 24 Antibalas “George W. Bush, INDICTMENT!” was the cry heard at the Vogue as 80 people got funky to the Brooklyn Afrobeat of Antibalas. With rhythm and horn sections to rival James Brown’s, Afro-Cuban percussion and an exuberant lead singer, this 11-member orchestra is arguably one the most talented bands on the planet. Fans salsaed and boogied as Antibalas ripped jams that broke the half-hour mark.
The horns and drummer laid a funky foundation for the congas and very dirty Rhodes keyboards. Ten minutes into the set, Amayo leapt from behind the congas and strutted up to the mic like Hendrix, leading the band in a call and response. Fans cheered as the horn section traded fours. The tenor sax shrieked on some high notes like a sick donkey, and evoked the sax-slayings of Sun Ra Arkestra’s Marshall Allen. The flugelhorn sailed on a high note to break a shot-glass. The bari-sax man blew bass notes that shook the tables and later played a flute that added some Latin spice.
Antibalas gave fans a lesson in Indiana history, dedicating “Pay Back Africa” to the Tribe of Ishmael, an 1800s local and Richmond-based tri-racial collective of runaway slaves, farmers and Native Americans that allegedly founded Morocco, Ind., and were destroyed through the state’s eugenics laws.
The tenor-saxman transformed the Vogue into a courtroom for “indictment.” He called for indictments of Bush’s Cabinet. Later on in the jam, he led the horns, waving his hands like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Many band members also stepped down and began salsa dancing with the fans. Amayo resumed the lead and had the fans “clap down Bush.” He started one of the final cuts by saying, “We’re gonna clap down this Bush that’s blocking our view of the future.”