October 30th, 2008

trixie cheer

Catching Up: Chopteeth Concert at the Black Cat

OK, I know this is a waaay overdue post about the last show I caught at The Black Cat, but, well...just pretend it happened last weekend or something. Heh. Anyway.

The week before the Book Festival, Dave’s brother-in-law Trevor and his band had their CD release party at The Black Cat, so we all went. Trevor’s in two bands. The one we went to see is Chopteeth, which is “14 musicians-worth of Afrobeat, Highlife, Rumba and vintage West African funk.” Or, according to The Washington Post, “A storming powerhouse of big-band African funk rooted in the music of the Nigerian bandleader Fela Kuti. Chopteeth is smart, tight and relentlessly driving...a definite don't-miss."

We got seats at the tables in the back of the club for the opening band, and since I was really hungry I went and got some food from the window downstairs. (Word to the wise: although I enjoy the food at the 9:30 Club, the food at The Black Cat is not nearly as good. The chicken sandwich I got was ok but not great; the cake I got (which I ate first because it took them so long to make the sandwich) was dry. It took forever to get the food, with the cooks behind the counter shuffling slooooowly from grill to window and back, which caused me to observe to one of the Chopteeth guys in line with me that they were, quite possibly, actually zombies. But enough about the food, which at least kept me from fainting from hunger.) While I was eating, the opening band came on. They were ok but fairly repetitive, since a lot of their music consisted just of the rhythm parts (drums drums and more drums). I could probably have done without them.

But then Chopteeth came on, and they were a lot more awesome. With at least 12-14 talented musicians onstage, their set rocked the whole time. They had at least two (maybe three?) drummers, a trombone, two trumpets, a saxophone (Trevor), a keyboard, guitarists, singers, and, at one point, an accordion. (Trevor also played flute on one song.) Yet somehow, even with such a crowded stage, they managed to streamline all of the different elements into lively and cohesive tunes. The music is pretty infectious, so while at first we hung out at the back, eventually Karen and I decided to venture up near the stage so we could dance (it was a bit loud up there so Dave decided to stay in the back). Needless to say, we ended up staying in the front for most of the rest of the show (and BOY, was I tired later on from all the dancing).

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As you can see, it was a lively good time!

I bought the CD while I was there, too, and it’s great – well produced and really fun. I definitely recommend giving them a listen if you like this sort of music (they’ve got some free songs on their website). And hey, maybe even get the CD!