Foly Asiko Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON, June 12

Foly Asiko Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON, June 12
Photo: Kevin Jones
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While the prospect of a nine-piece Afrobeat ensemble rocking the cozy Gladstone Ballroom looked really good on paper, that idea didn't entirely translate in front of the sparse Wednesday night crowd that stuck around to see Foly Asiko's troupe of talented players. To be clear, there's no denying the group's abilities — an impressive mix of heady, weaving horn lines, churning guitar licks and intermittent, boisterous vocals all shining vibrantly over hypnotic bass lines and propulsive rhythms. But without an audience of body-moving spectators on hand to give back some of the energy the stage-full of initially enthused players was turning out, the effort being poured into their drawn-out, ever-building Afrobeat grooves felt a bit for not at times. The group did still manage a few surprises, however, in the horn section's many acrobatic, sound-stretching solos, and a slinky, skanking mid-set version of Erykah Babu's "On & On." Unfortunately, the tough Wednesday night festival timeslot proved the wrong date and time for what the band had to offer.