When: Sat., Jan. 26, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Chicago Afrobeat Project—arguably the midwest’s best practitioners of the funky style pioneered more than four decades ago by Nigerian national hero Fela Kuti—adapt Afrobeat to a wide range of music on their new album, Nyash Up! (CAbP Music), including songs by local free-jazz combo the Vandermark 5, Brazilian pop thrush Ceu, and Led Zeppelin. In nearly every case the material has been so heavily remade that the only trace of the original is the occasional lyric or indelible lick—the bass line in Fugazi’s “Waiting Room,” for instance, or the vocals of guest singer Ugochi on Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.” CABP definitely have Fela’s sound down pat—they even fuse his “Just Like That” with Radiohead’s “I Might Be Wrong” on the opening track—but their take on it sometimes feels self-conscious and bland. And it doesn’t help that local rapper S. Squair Blaq adds some verses to the Gaye cover that back down from Fela’s radical politics to rather timidly demand an end to the war on the middle class—it sounds depressingly like an uninspired Obama stump speech. —Peter Margasak Nick & the Ovorols open.