Concert Review: Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, July 11, Opera House

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Addressing the crowd early on in his set, Femi Kuti noted that he’s not as young as he once was, making it a bit harder than it used to be to maintain the same level of energy over four consecutive nights in a row on tour. Not that he showed any signs of slowing down after all these years – Femi Kuti is a masterful performer, giving his all for the duration of his set.

“The world is going through another phase. And this is not a time to be silent or else you will not have a voice,” Kuti said to the crowd at one point, urging us all not to become complacent or ignore the troubles going on in our world and asking us all to sing together in harmony. Though just a symbolic gesture, it was certainly one way of having our voices heard and certainly helped to give some hope for a better world.

Kuti’s music has always had a political edge to it and this night was clearly no different as he and his 12 piece band The Positive Force (composed of keyboards, bass, guitar, drums, percussion, 4 horns, and 3 singer/dancers) played an incredibly energetic and passionate set that was focused just as much on a passion for justice and resistance as on their extended Afrobeat jams.

Concert Preview: Faust at Jam Factory

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Photo credit: Jan Lankisch

Wavelength prior to this week has always been known to put on shows for eclectic Toronto bands, so it was a surprise to see them book German krautrock band faUSt this summer. Even more surprising was that it was booked at a place called the Jam Factory, which sounds like a place you would go in the ’90s to listen to Chris Shepard or something.

Nevertheless, here we are, one week away from from what should be a pretty interesting show in the east end. Formed in 1971, Faust released four albums in the ’70s full of experimental rock that eventually, along with a few other bands, become labelled as Kraut Rock. They then disappeared for twenty years before re-emerging in the ’90s and have been casually around since then.

They just released their Fresh Air album last year and are touring now in support of that. It’s an opportunity to see a unique band in a unique space, so go check it out!

faUst play Sunday, July 15 at the Jam Factory.

Concert Review: Carbon Leaf, July 7, City Winery

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Saturday night’s show was a conglomeration of perfect pairings: Chicago + summer; amazing venue + awesome service; inspired lyrics + top-notch vocals/instrumentals. How did all of this come together? City Winery + Carbon Leaf.

It was my first time checking out the elegant wine bar/venue space known as City Winery (W Randolph location) but it definitely won’t be my last. The lovely space is perfect for a relaxed but upscale evening of diverse wines, tasty dishes, and awesome acoustics and lighting for music shows. My friends and I were especially impressed by the interesting murals, unique chandeliers, and – as the cherry on top of any great space – le disco ball. Such fun decor.

I’d recommend a night out at City Winery to anyone anytime (I’m looking forward to checking out the Riverwalk location soon!) but what brought me there for the first time was Carbon Leaf’s 25-year anniversary show. I knew the band vaguely for their well-known single “Life Less Ordinary”, but I didn’t have much more to go on and hadn’t really formed any expectations for the show. Spoiler alert if you don’t know much about the band either: They. Are. Awesome. Seriously so much fun live and they have a TON of great songs I (shamefully) didn’t know existed. Even more exciting, they’re releasing a new album, Gathering, which promises to continue their excellent record (pun intended).

The quintet from Richmond, VA strikes just the right balance of small talk and singing – they crack actually funny jokes (making fun of themselves in a super endearing way) and offer interesting anecdotes about the origins of their songs. The acoustics and lighting at the City Winery show were also incredibly well done, making the night seem like a magical musical journey. Honestly. I’m not exaggerating. I got lost in their lyrics (like “love came along, my favorite enemy” from “Comfort”) and drawn into their interactive sing-alongs to traditional Celtic tunes and time totally flew. The band played a great 90+ minute set, acquiescing to the audience’s multiple calls for encores. We all ended the night crowded around the stage, cheering and toasting the band and each other and promising to meet up again when the band passes through Illinois later this year. They’re on an aggressive touring schedule with their new album so make sure you check them out. It’s a show worth seeing – especially if you’re lucky enough to have a venue like City Winery hosting!

Song Of The Day: Sibille Attar – Paloma

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment


With strong tracks like “Alcoholics” and “Julian! I Want To Be a Dancer!” off of her 2013 album Sleepyhead, Swedish singer-songwriter Sibille Attar first caught my ear a few years ago and got me wondering what was next for her. Well, here we are five years later and she’s back with a new EP, Paloma’s Hand, released earlier this year on PNKSLM Recordings.

Attar’s harmonized vocal on not-quite-title-track “Paloma” combined with the song’s psychedelic yet poppy arrangement sort of brings to mind First Aid Kit collaborating with Animal Collective. An intriguing mix. Check it out: