Boukman Eksperyans Live At Red Rocks

The band most associated with the phrase "Live at Red Rocks" is U2, and that’s not a good omen. It’s also not a fair comparison — Boukman Eksperyans never really approach U2’s level of self-importance, and their revolutionary credentials carry much more weight, being exiled from their native Haiti for their outspoken support of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after his overthrow in 1991. But, there’s still an obnoxiously messianic overtone to their exhortations to the crowd to throw off the chains that bind them to their oppressors and the material world — there’s something almost rock-ist in their rebel postures, in fact. Still, one would feel much more inclined to cut them some slack if the live show captured here didn’t sound so leaden; for a big, open-air venue, Red Rocks sounds positively stifling. The beats are lifeless thuds, the keyboards overpower everything else in the mix with a decidedly inorganic-sounding bleating and even the live energy and passion on which so much of Boukman Eksperyans’ reputation rests, sound forced. Not much of a riot goin’ on at all. (Tuff Gong)