Oakland, Berkeley, And East Bay News, Events, Restaurants, Music, & Arts
Seun Kuti New Album and Concert Review
Regency Ballroom, San Francsico 7/16/11
First things first, a Seun Kuti show will wear you out. At the end of his concert, before the encore, if you haven’t sweated out your cool, then you must not truly be alive and able to sense pure, original, African energy in, and coming out the music. The band, comprised of some serious sax and trumpet players, hypnotic dancers with memorable voices, and surrounded by elders- members of the Egypt 80 who played with Seun’s father Fela on percussions and guitars, is simply a body rocking and mind opening experience, not just a concert.
I first saw Seun live at Stern Grove in San Francisco, where he not only came out of his shirt and embodied a reincarnation of his dad in dance and in fiery lyrics, really blew the San Francisco crowd away with songs from his first critically acclaimed album, “Many Things.” The sound, the charisma, the rebel in your face stance, the tight pocket that is undeniable Afro-Beat (which I am more convinced is a blend of everything that is African and James Brown), hit me in a unique place because I knew at that moment I was hearing the closest to Fela I was every going to hear live. For the record, I’ve been listening to Fela since 1991. I first heard him through my mentor at the time Mwatabu Okantah, on his radio show Windwords which came on Sundays on Cleveland State’s Radio WCSB 89.3fm. Upside Down, Center of The World, and Mr Grammart (Calogylisationalism Is The Boss) are songs I was playing next to X Clan and Poor Righteous teachers in the early 90’s.
After Stern Grove, I immediately went out and purchased “Many Things” and been watching the moves being made, including the new deal with Knitting Factory Records, “From Africa with Fury: Rise” the new video, and the various interviews online, one which includes Seun saying his music is for “African people to wake up and solve their own problems.” His latest album and live set at The Regency Ballroom on a cool Saturday night in San Francisco is a clear indicator that Seun is just getting warmed up, he’s concerned about the same issues his ancestors were with, he’s as cold on the sax as he is in orchestrating his band and vocals, and truly, along with artists like Nneka and Blitz The Ambassador, is setting a new tone for music and politics from an African point of view.
Seun started his set, as always, by opening with a song by his dad Fela. For this occasion, Seun and The Egypt 80 chose Zombie to come out to. Incredibly hot from the onset, Seun spoke first with his horn, then with his voice, which is raspy, strong, and rich. The band is so solid that it seems almost effortless to the players, especially the two “timekeepers,” one controlling the claves and the other a shaker with serious dance moves all night which didn’t mess up his crisp white shirt. Seun came out in a fresh grey shirt and pants to match, but I knew it, and the shirt knew it too, that it was about to get sweated out because Seun moves about the whole stage with the same fervor as his dad in dance and expression. Also, I’m convinced that there is more than a performance going on because Fela’s presence was felt in the atmosphere.
Seun wasted no time and really gave a strong showcase of the music on “From Africa with Fury: Rise,” produced by Brian Eno, John Reynolds, and Seun Kuti, with additional production by Godwin Logie, and mixed by b and Tim Oliver. “Slavemasters” with lines like “Till them tire for the cheating for many many years,” shows that Seun has been in tune to global politics today and his ancestral past, with a rhythm that doesn’t just makes you dance but feel the sentiment, and the title song “Rise” should be the anthem for new Africa and freedom and not just used for soccer stadiums and sporting events. My favorite line of “Rise” have to be when he admonishes petroleum and diamond companies “wey dey use our brothers as slaves for the stones.” Other strong songs of the night were “Mr. Big Thief” and “The Good Leaf.” Seun must’ve known he was in Northern California, (maybe not after telling the crowd he was tired from the jetlag from Europe), but by the colorful smell of cannabis that hovered over the ceiling of the Regency Ballroom, the good leaf was definitely in the house. The crowd, blended with San Fran hipsters who many have just jumped on the Fela bandwagon, Africans in button ups, and everyday people who clearly knew of Fela and Seun’s musical and historical background all had the place mostly packed. (the back towards the bar was light and there was room to dance). I can’t understand for the life of me how a few people were sitting in the balcony during this electric performance, but they even looked worn out at the end of the night because of the constant original, African music.
Do yourself a favor and pick up Seun’s latest album, “From Africa with Fury: Rise,” and when you see Seun listed as coming to your city to perform, wear your dancing shoes, open your ears and be inspired, and open your eyes and witness the continuing of a family legacy of strength, power, and politics and music. His album is out on Knitting Factory Records.
it's about time mmj took their self satifaction energy and use their thoughts to TRULY dig what brought the current stoned state was borne of STATE OF EMERGENCY re med lack for the DYING & PROUD PIONEERS of the lgbt family.i hope they folow thru. bob katz you still haven't responded to a dialogue you instigated and the fallout of your in actions created quite alot of belittlement, disappointment and worthlessness in a VERY kind disabled vet of 13 + 3 yrs, and an amzing artist, whom has distributed 90% at least of his internationally displayed woodburnings (one which was made especially for your 180 degree treatment, concer, and kindness. please contact me.
LETZ GO OAKLAND!!!!!
THE MONDAY NIGHT KARAOKE IS HAPPENING! COME JOIN US AND ENJOT THIS CASUAL, LAID BACK ATMOSPHERE FOR AN AFTER-WORK DRINK OR LATE NIGHT GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS!
We always have a luxurious, self healing meditation, and learn a new tool for our spiritual toolbox. We heal ourselves while having fun! Come and join us!
Fresh and local! so far had breakfast, lunch, and (early) dinner there. While the menu reads quaint and descriptive (typically German!) all dishes were absolutely fabulous and delicious, and surprisingly reasonable.
The salmon was buttery and melting in your mouth, with a nice crispy pan-seared crust on top. The rainbow chard (usually not my taste) was surprisingly flavorful, slightly on the spicy side (good!), and with great texture.
All breakfast choices were fantastic - try the jams and meats! Delicious home-made rolls, with tasty and zesty marmelades, soft and flavorful cheeses, and buttery eggs from the oven with home-made quark. Yummi! Together with the very kids-friendly service and environment a great place to go - alone, with my family, with friends.
Awesome photos! They perfectly capture how I always pictured Berkeley before I moved to the bay area.
Great show! Documentary photos of Berkeley in the 1960's,
with many shots of the response of CA Governor Ronald Reagan to
the People's Park protest - he ordered the National Guard to take
over downtown Berkeley and the UC campus. Also interesting photos of Tim Leary, dancing and music in the streets. Photos are for sale.
Nate Barry-Stein is the Chef here.
Great neighborhood bar with the East Bay's best patio. Good selection of booze for great prices and the jukebox rocks!
GREAT CUBAN FOOD...RIGHT HERE IN OAKLAND!!! FInally, my prayers have been answered. A friend told me about this place, so I decided to check it out. I showed up almost at closing time and to my surprise, I was greeted warmly by Sandra and Fermin, She runs the restaurant, he cooks heavenly authentic Cuban food. And I do mean authentic. I was born in Cuba, so I know what I'm talking about. Were it not for the fact that it would have been very unseemly I would have licked the plate clean when I finished my lechon asado. We're talking lechon the way my grandmother and mother did it. Dios mio, it was good. And the tostones....ahh, I could have eaten 3 more plates of them. Sheer pefection, with a little mojo sprinkled on top! They're open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I can't wait to go back again and introduce my friends to this little slice of Cuban heaven in the East Bay!
5 Stars because it is great for the street art aficionado and the street artists! Not only does the gallery display and sell some of the works of the up and coming street artists, they also sell materials for your bombing pleasure, from fat caps to your fave krink colors, they have the works. As if that isn't enough, if you are a graff buff but not so hot at hittin the streets, they supply the knowledge for a small price. And by they, I mean Nate1 and Novy. On top of alllll that, you can even get the crew at 1AM to hit up your not so cultured walls! So much more than just a gallery.........
Free monthly music and art events in an intimate setting. What more can you ask for?
This place is just like the cafes in Florence. The food is superb! The coffee is fantastic! And I'm not even a coffee drinker. I'm totally hooked.
This place has it all modern, vintage, local, ethnic, and below retail. If you want to add some accessories to your home or furnish a new home they are good for both. They can discount products lower because its like T.J. Max and Ross with clothes but its all kinds of stuff for your home. You have to visit if your any where near Berkeley, CA.
“The best food, best service and great view.” — The best food, best service and great view. Now with original ownership after a few years we will get to see great service. Back to the good al days. You can have a beautiful Wedding at Humphrey's On The Delta with three lovely wedding sites to choose from. Humphrey's will provide personal assistance from beginning to the end of your special occasion. Splurging at top-rated restaurant is fun for special events, but where can you go for a good quality meal that won't break the bank?
This is so huge, you can't believe it! I don't think I've ever finished it due to its size and the number of vendors. There are probably over 1000, to be honest. And each one is very unique. You'll see everything from vintage clothing to tools, furniture jewelry, plants, European items, Asian items, Native American, Africa, textiles and beads from Eastern parts of the world, and so on. It's a tremendous place to shop. Just bring your walking shoes for sure. The one drawback is lack of seating for when you finally take a snack/lunch break! I suppose if I went before 9 a.m. when the entrance price is higher than $5, I'd see the whole thing, but my feet still wouldn't survive! It's still worth going to. Store up your money and have some fun. There's an ATM just outside the entrance gate too. Some vendors take credit cards. I typically pay with cash. Getting in on a nice sunny morning is a chore due to the traffic. Same thing for when you leave. It'll take what seems to be a lifetime just getting onto Webster Street in Alameda so you can get back onto 880 and head home. By then you're totally pooped! But you'll have so many neat goodies to enjoy once you get there!
the best pub for micro brews and IPA'S add the fact they have live music every night with no cover charge and you have a great place for nights out or just to drop by for a beer
No frills dance club enjoyment.
Great sound system, friendly staff, strong drinks and diverse crowd!
When I first passed this place I was drawn inside by an overwhelming fragrance of cinnamon. I was able to create my own cinnamon roll with decadent caramel frosting and then topped with chocolate chips and cookie dough... Wonderfully "CINNFULL"! I go back all the time now. You should go!
I love Gather! I would go back in a heartbeat.
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