Live Review: The Very Best @ Cedar Cultural Center
I think there is a problem when people try don’t allow for there to be some cross pollination between art that is good and art that is fun. Serious fans, especially critics, are so protective (pretentious?) of perceived lack of seriousness in art, whether it is books, films or music, that they often miss the forest because they are dissecting the trees. This is unfortunate.
A great example of this was the amazing The Very Best show at the Cedar Cultural Center on Wednesday. There was a DJ (one half of Radio Clit) hitting buttons, two singers/rappers (including incredible frontman Esau Mwamwaya) spending a good portion of the songs running around stage dancing and pumping up the crowd, two backup dancers and some inflatable palm trees. And it was fucking awesome. The tracks came from the group’s debut mix tape, their official debut Warm Heart of Africa, and some new tracks (including their takeover of Yeasayers “Ambling Alps”) that they said would be on their upcoming mix tape. There was nothing musically revolutionary about the music, but the overall good vibes were so infectious that it was impossible not to have a good time. Whether they were covering “Paper Planes,” Michael Jackson or playing their own tunes, seeing the group having such fun on stage made all of their bombastic showmanship seem genuine and not the least bit contrived.
My only disappointment was that the crowd wasn’t very big. While the people there had no problem bouncing/dancing/singing/cheering along with the group, shows like this are always even more entertaining with a larger crowd. With performances like their show Wednesday night, it is only a matter of time before they are playing bigger shows to larger crowds. I can’t imagine what the party will be like then, since even with a small-ish crowd it was one of the most fun, thoroughly enjoyable shows I have seen in a very long time. It served as a good reminder to not let anyone tell you that fun (especially fun with inflatable palm trees) is a bad thing.
-Words/Videos by Josh, Photo by Jon (Full Photo Set HERE)