Tag Archives: Antibalas

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Mercury Lounge and Dog Gone Blog Have Your Late-Night Needs

December 27th, 2012

As 2012 winds down, there’s still a whole lot of nightlife left, which means you very well might want to fit in more than one concert a night. So whether you’re hitting My Morning Jacket, Phish or something else, Mercury Lounge and Dog Gone Blog have your back. Saturday night, they welcome Prince Rupert’s Drops and Real Estate bassist Alex Bleeker’s solo offshoot, Alex Bleeker & the Freaks (above, doing “Never Goin’ Back” for the Fader Fort). The Village Voice says of their psychedelic-tinged folk: “The melodies now have a campfire quality that adds a new layer to the nostalgic pop we’ve come to expect.” And Sunday, Antibalas tenor saxophonist Stuart D. Bogie brings Superhuman Happiness to Mercury Lounge. The seven-piece band (below, doing “Needles & Pins” for the Bridge Sessions), known for high energy shows, will certainly have you spending your last Saturday night/early Sunday morning of 2012 dancing along to their joyful noise.

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Three Sets, Two Bands and a Snowstorm

October 31st, 2011

Medeski Martin & Wood/Antibalas – Terminal 5 – October 29, 2011


What are you dressing up as? It’s the annual question every Halloween. This past Saturday, the night most people were out celebrating, it was New York City itself wearing a costume. The whole city dressed as winter with a crazy October snowstorm. What better way to celebrate a freak storm than with some freak music: Medeski, Martin & Wood and Antibalas at Terminal 5. While some brave folks wore costumes, most in attendance dressed like they were just trying to stay warm and dry, and once the music started, there was no problem there.

Antibalas got the crowd moving with a solid set of Brooklyn-style Afrobeat so that by the time MMW took the stage, no one was thinking about what was going on outside. The trio, celebrating a 20th anniversary, has spent the entire year playing like there’s another 20 years ahead. The set list was by request—fans were invited to choose the songs they wanted to hear most online. The result was a show heavy on groovers almost exclusively from two early albums, Friday Afternoon in the Universe and Shack-man, as well as a great rare-cover bust out of “Psychedelic Sally.” John Medeski was dressed as a sumo wrestler and attacked all manner of keyboards, on songs like “Last Chance to Dance Trance (Perhaps),” with the artful reckless abandon of those massive athletes. Chris Wood was either Uncle Sam or Noel Redding, most likely the latter, but I prefer to think it was the former because he unleashed an arsenal of nasty bass playing like it was his patriotic duty on classic numbers like “Chubb Sub.” And Billy Martin was Cookie Monster, appropriate because he was gobbling up the rhythms on tunes like “Bubblehouse” without care of what kind of crumbs he’d left behind.

As if that weren’t enough, there was a third set with Medeski, Martin & Wood and Antibalas playing together. With 15 musicians onstage, the effect was like dumping out your pillowcase after a night of trick-or-treating. With the colorful array of chocolate and nougat and candy coating, the first reaction was “this might be a little too much.” But once they all started playing, the result was a fabulous Frankengroove merging the best parts of each group. The highlight was a big-band take on the Halloween-appropriate MMW tune “Dracula,” with the lights going purple and dark and the music following into deep, mysterious territory. It was as transcendent as a snowstorm in October. —A. Stein

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MMW and Antibalas Host a Pumpkin-Carving Contest

October 26th, 2011

Halloween isn’t a traditional holiday in the sense that people go home to spend time with their families. Instead they do something with their friends. And this year Medeski Martin & Wood (above, doing “Broken Mirror”) will be celebrating with their friends Antibalas (perhaps you saw them as the house band in the Broadway smash Fela!) at Terminal 5 on Saturday. The jazz-funk experimentalist trio and the Brooklyn groove ensemble will each play a set followed by one performed together. Expect plenty of Afrobeat, funk, hip-hop and Latin jazz. And expect to have a blast.

And since this is in celebration of Halloween, the two groups will host a pumpkin-carving contest. So bring your fantastically carved pumpkin to the venue between 6 and 6:30. The competition will be held on the roof deck at 6:45. Band members will select their favorite pumpkin, and the winner will receive a goodie bag of merch and six drink tickets as well as a chance meet and chat with the bands. All pumpkins must be carved in advance. Bring an LED light to place inside your pumpkin. (No candles permitted.) Please place your name inside your pumpkin. No admittance to the venue without a ticket.