Wednesday, September 16, 2009

[The Record Crate] If all that sounds a little complicated...

Gov't Majik, appearing at Bogie's on Wednesday, is the umpteen-man Afro-beat wrecking crew helmed by bassist Bur Bruser, perhaps remembered by some longtime Baton Rouge bar hounds as ringleader of the Hi-Life Players. The sound of Gov't Majik begins with the massive music of Fela Kuti – extended, intensely political Nigerian funk masterpieces that both landed the legendary musician in jail and made him a folk hero in his home country and around the world—and gets twisted up in psychedelic P-funk touches and New Orleans stomp. In other words, it is some heavy, funky music from some folks who know how to deliver it.

The two other most interesting bands on the New Orleans scene are appearing together at Spanish Moon on Saturday. Zydepunks are a two-accordion, fiddle, bass and drum punk/Irish/Cajun/Jewish/Balkan/French rave-up onslaught, one of the few bands around that might inspire you to tango your way across the pit. Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship? are a band as big as their name, a riotous chamber orchestra exploding beyond the bounds of simple classification.

If all that sounds a little complicated, it might just be a warmup for Prefuse 73's first visit to Baton Rouge on Tuesday night. Prefuse 73 is the nominally hip-hop project name under which DJ and producer Scott Herren creates fluid, kaleidoscopic soundscapes of beats, outbursts and noise, pushing past the stock patterns into which contemporary hip-hop has evolved, choosing to instead use it to break new ground.

Finally, a word about the Happy Talk Band who appeared last weekend at Chelsea's: I thought I liked Luke Allen's scruffy, sad-sack songs when I heard him perform in a stripped-down acoustic setting; I had no idea how much I'd love them with a full raging bar band behind them. It was like hearing Cracker if they were still hungry and sweating getting their guarantee. According to the band, I haven't seen anything, since New Orleans guitar star Alex McMurray usually plays with them, so I look forward to having my mind re-blown next time they're in town.

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