The Washington Post hails Chopteeth as as “A sensation—the dozen-plus member outfit cooks up a scintillating stew of Afrofunk, rumba, salsa, ska and funk. There’s no other band in the area with as funky and wide-reaching a sound.” Combine that with the Rock & Soul sound of All Mighty Senators for the evening and a party is brewing!
For Chopteeth, even a dance party can be a deep exercise in tracing musical lineages. Over many sweaty gigs, the band honed a late Fela piece of fugue-like complexity (see a live video of Question Jam Answer) and spent months calling Nigeria to find an unsung master of African funk. They dug through record store bins, trolled the internet, and mined the vinyl of die-hard African record buffs to find lo-fi and neglected gems.
These gems harken back to the golden age of African pop, the 1970s. In rough-and-ready studios, musicians laid down heady mixes of James Brown-inspired funk, complex chord changes, and local rhythms. They reacted to soul and rumba, to jazz and rock, to harsh political realities and deep roots. Though some musicians of this generation rose to international prominence, many languished, only recently rediscovered by dedicated African music fans, labels, and collectors.
The band’s live vibe channels all the heavy-duty intensity of a good old big band, something increasingly rare in this age of mp3s and streaming files. “The truth is people don’t often hear big bands playing dance music live anymore,” muses Chopteeth bassist Robert Fox. “You hear a song like Fela’s ‘J.J.D.’ in person, and it just feels different. It’s a shocking experience for the audience.”
Check out this video of Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band performing Fela Kuti’s J.J.D. from the Rock and Roll Hotel. Craig Considine, who will be performing with both Chopteeth and All Mighty Senators plays a killer solo on the video.
All Mighty Senators is a rhythm fused quintet from Baltimore, which has toured the United States and Canada extensively. AMS released their first recordings under Baltimore indie Merkin Records before releasing four albums under their own Dog Eat Dog Records to both critical and popular acclaim.
Their live shows, fronted by the charismatic Landis Expandis and guitar-god Warren Boes, have remained one of the most revered on the East Coast, and have established AMS with a diverse and rabid following, ranging from indie-philes to rave cadets to festival freaks. Their genre defying sounds have drawn comparisons to such disparate acts as Sly and The Family Stone, Frank Zappa and Beck.
Fela’s Afrobeat and All Mighty Senators have some unexpected elements in common: political ferocity, a day-glo intensity, and serious creativity. They both evolved in reaction to Western R&B or pop rock, and leaped off in radical (and radically different) directions.
Chopteeth and All Mighty Senators know how to meld the retro savor and the fresh take, with unrelenting energy and onstage flair.
Chopteeth lead vocalist and primary songwriter Michael Shereikis offered, “We’re really looking foward to getting back into U Street Music Hall with its slamming sound system, and just as psyched to finally be sharing the stage with Almighty Senators. It’ll be a wicked good time, guaranteed”.
Praise for Chopteeth:
“Afrofunk with lunatic energy.”— National Public Radio