15 Jan, 2013

Femi Kuti at the Boulder Theater

Knowing more of the history behind Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti, also known as Femi Kuti, than the music itself, I was curious how a Boulder crowd would respond to the 50 year old performer’s Nigerian beats. Being the son of the legend Fela Kuti of African fame and having a bold band name like The Positive Force leaves a lot to live up to and Kuti did not fall short of delivering a thrilling performance last Tuesday night.

The night opened with welcoming and easy-listening jazz by the Garrett Sayers Trio. The audience, whose age demographic seemed to be late-20’s and on, softly nodded their head in attention to Sayer’s tunes while awaiting Kuti. The trio’s original pieces accompanied by their gifted improvisations left the audience inspired.

Garett Sayers opens.

Garett Sayers opens.

As The Positive Force entered the stage each section of the band came out dancing. This got the audience warmed up and dancing before Femi Kuti walked out on stage to roaring applause. His band consisted of drums, horns, keyboard, and dancers in flashy exuberant costumes that made enough noise to be considered an instrument and integral part of the band.

Femi Kuti at the Boulder Theater.

Gettin’ the people to dance.

Femi Kuti.

Femi Kuti.



Masterful trumpeting.

Bringin' the brass.

Bringin’ the brass.

Dancers/back-up singers.

Dancers/back-up singers.

Dancers at Femi Kuti


The entire show was fun and exciting and neither did the band or the audience run out of energy as they both danced the night away. Sometimes having a photo pass at a concert by yourself can be an alienating experience, especially considering I was underage and probably the one of youngest people there, but I felt nothing else but good vibes. I was comfortable dancing the night away (yes, in my lonesome). Kuti had a number of conversations with the audience about everything from first love to the secret service. The messages in his lyrics were as immediate as his politically inspired monologues. His songs expressed a commitment in love and hope for a world with no war and poverty, where everyone is accepted despite their differences. Lyrics such as, “the whole world is changing / everyone can feel the pain” felt appropriate to be sung by a band named The Positive Force. They ended the night with three encores and left the audience inspired on what could have been an ordinary Tuesday evening in Boulder.

Photo and reviews by Matt Sparks.

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