Femi Kuti Opera House, Toronto ON - July 7, 2005
Published Aug 01, 2005Perhaps Femi Kuti wants to take a broad step out of his legendary father's shadow, or maybe Femi has made peace with being Son of Fela, and therefore the heir to the activism and Afrobeat music that was his legacy. Whatever it is that has pushed Femi to become more comfortable in his shirtless strut, with a touch of arrogance and condemnation, as he led his sharp group of roughly 15 musicians deep into Afrobeat territory is fine with me, as long as it's a positive influence. Seemingly unstoppable, Femi started his close to three hour set in front of a packed house, often asking the audience "are you tired?" and making short speeches about the state of the world and how it's treating him. Assertively launching into long cuts from both Shoki-Shoki and Fight to Win, and constantly switching from lead vocalist to keys, sax and trumpet, Femi brought many tracks to life. Taking full advantage of the toughest horn section around, as well as an incredibly tight rhythm section and his jaw-dropping singers, Femi preached the Afro-beat gospel and laid out the underground spiritual journey over a sweat-drenched crowd, however, no one was sweating harder than Femi. As Femi grows both as a musician and as a figure in African culture, both his craft and the spirit behind can only grow stronger. This recent tour in support of his new concert DVD serves as a true example of Femi's development and growth within the world created by his father in the soul of Nigeria.