From Dusk Till Dawn ... 

The bars, bands, and clubs to keep you happy.

Page 7 of 9

Articulate, charismatic, peaceful, and gifted with a knack for sloganeering, Michael Franti (SpearheadVibrations.com) is a one-man protest movement, a dude so PC he'd rather protest the WTO than drive a GTO. Over the last decade-and-change, he's been an agitprop punk rocker (with the Beatnigs); the West Coast's answer to Chuck D and Gil Scott-Heron (with the industrial-rap outfit Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy); and a unifier of reggae, soul, and funk influences with his current outfit, Spearhead. ... Berkeley Afrobeat ensemble ALBINO! (Albinoband.com) makes no secret of striving for Fela Kuti's footsteps, although its twelve members are mostly white and face a new set of challenges. Instead of railing against an exploitative Nigerian government, the group calls out media saturation and dysfunctional democracy through music that's aptly rousing. ... Sila and the Afrofunk Experience (VictorSila.com), an eleven-person funky fusion of African rhythm, funk, soukous, Afrobeat, and reggae, stars Kenya native and Bay Area resident Sila. Easily one of the longest and most intense bills in the region. ... Aphrodesia (Aphrodesia.org) (more than fifteen musicians and singers listed) aren't dilettantes — they are dedicated, good enough to open for Femi Kuti. The members don't settle for Afrobeat's basics — the chant-like vocals, sparkling guitar riffs, dramatically exultant horns, and insistent funk-flavored rhythms; they up the ante by bringing some personal touches to the table. ... There's nothing forced about its fusion. The Mo'Rockin Project (MoRockinProject.com) features five Bay Area African Americans — trumpeter Khalil Shaheed, saxophonist Richard Howell, keyboardist Glen Pearson, bassist Ron Belcher, and drummer Deszon Claiborne — and two Casablancans — string players Yassir Chadly and Bouchaibe Abdelhadi — who create a seamless, ultimately satisfying blend of American jazz and blues with traditional Moroccan musical flavors. ... Behold the Polyphonic Spree gone reggae: airy, irie, and spectacularly awry. Still Flyin' (MySpace.com/stillflyin) packs fifteen or so members of the Bay Area's indie-rock elite — former and current members of the Aislers Set, Red Pony Clock, Half-Handed Cloud, etc. — onstage for an explosion of full-blown, live-action reggae, featuring multiple female backup singers, robust trombone, the occasional vibraphone, and even a full-time Band Dancer, all subtly orchestrated by frontman Sean Rawls. ... In spite of, or perhaps because of, his lack of formal training, East Oakland percussionist John Santos (JohnSantos.com) really follows the beat of his own drum. His Latin jazz quintet combined post-bop and folk influences to produce one of the best albums of 2007, Papa Mambo. Though he enjoys linking contemporary forms back to their source material, Santos never overintellectualizes his creative process; he can always get a groove going.

Bars for Seeing and Being Seen

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