After leaving the Uptown I caught BART and a few minutes later was back in my own neighborhood scarfing down a couple of delicious pastor tacos and a Modelo before walking up the street to meet MAP at the Great American Music Hall to catch Antibalas. When we went in the crowd was sparser than I expected it to be, but it seems 9:15 turned out to be earlier than I thought because when the band hit the stage about an hour later the joint was packed.

I first saw Antibalas last November when they were the house band for the brilliant Fela! production on Broadway. Now I got a chance to see them doing their own thing and in short, these guys walked onstage and proceeded to blow the doors off for two solid hours in a super-tight, propulsive, explosive orgy of grooves and rhythms. They just seemed unstoppable. Originating from Brooklyn, the band is:

                                 AMAYO (Vocals & Percussion and MAP's favorite- she's so predictable)
VICTOR AXELROD (Organ/Clavinet)
MARTIN PERNA (Baritone Sax, founder)

Working in a vein that combines Afrobeat with serious strains of latin and funk meticulously woven into the mix, the band had the entire house dancing with them like there was going to be no tomorrow, creating that all-too-rarely experienced perfect symbiosis between audience and performer: you can no longer tell where the energy is coming from, the audience or the stage, because the line simply disappears between the two.

The remaining tour dates are:

Sat, July 17 - Garberville, CA - Reggae on the River
Mon, July 19 - Portland, Or - Berbati’s Pan*
Tue, July 20 - Seattle, WA - Neumos*
Thu, July 22 - New York City - River to River Festival, Castle Clinton
Thu, July 29 - Philadelphia, PA - Kimmel Center, Perelman Theater

Don't miss them if you live in one of these cities- it was one of the best shows I've seen in a very, very long time, only made that much better by the sudden appearance of Steve and John, who appeared out of nowhere to be standing right next to us.

Afterward, having burned off the tacos, MAP and I went to Osha Thai for a late dinner, which no matter how upscale the two sisters who own the place try to make it, still has the same old disgusting bathrooms they've had forever.