Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Chicago Afrobeat Project | House of Blues | International | Chicago Reader
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Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Chicago Afrobeat Project 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended The List (Music) Soundboard

When: Sun., April 1, 8 p.m. 2012
Price: $28, $25 in advance
It's been almost five years since Seun Kuti made his Chicago debut in Millennium Park with his band Egypt 80, proving himself the true inheritor of the Afrobeat legacy established by his father, Fela. Since then Kuti and Egypt 80 have released two solid albums—including last year's From Africa With Fury: Rise (Knitting Factory), produced by Brian Eno—and though the recordings aren't a bad substitute for the band's explosive live performances, they can't capture the onstage volatility. Unlike his elder brother Femi Kuti, who takes a slightly poppier, more digestible approach to Afrobeat, Seun charges his songs with relentless, scathing outrage, excoriating Nigeria's militaristic rulers and pervasive corruption and decrying the depredations of multi­nationals (he calls out Monsanto and Halliburton by name). In doing so, he echoes his father's angry lyrics as surely as Egypt 80 echoes Fela's hard-driving funk, but that hardly makes Seun come across as dated—decades later, fury about those same crises is still perfectly justified. As good as the albums are, though, this music is meant to be heard live: the grooves open up, the fiery oratory reaches new heights, and the band blazes in its full splendor and ferocity. —Peter Margasak



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