“You really go to all kinds of shows, don’t you?” That’s what Tim from Space Monkey Mafia said to me when I ran into him at The Turf Club on Friday night and, honestly, truer words have never been spoken. Friday night’s show was a bit of a wild card for me. I didn’t know what I was going to get from the night but I knew that my gut told me that that’s where I needed to be for the evening.
Getting the night started off right was Obi Original and I mean it when I say that he and his band kicked it off right. As soon as Obi jumped into his set, I was transported into a whole new world. I really don’t know how to describe all of the sounds that I heard throughout Obi Original’s set. There was definitely a heavy African influence throughout every song but there were also elements of everything from indie-pop to reggae thrown in there. Every song that the band played had Obi dancing as if no one was watching and, in turn, had the entire audience smiling at the very least. I know it was hot outside but The Turf Club had the air pumping giving it a very comfortable and even chilly temperature at times but Obi was going so hard that within the first song, he was dripping in sweat. Wait, I’m sorry, he explained to the quickly growing audience that he does not sweat– he glistens. There was just something super infectious and fun about Obi’s set that I found completely addicting and captivating.
It would have been so easy for Obi to just take the stage with a computer and do his set that way but he went the extra mile bringing a whole band including drums, bass, and a buddy who pumped the beats through a laptop while dancing along to the super danceable beats. At one point, Obi gave up his dance moves ever so slightly to pick up a guitar. Again, he didn’t have to do this but the element of a live band absolutely added a sense of depth and excitement to the set that was not lost on me.
I thought I was going to have so much more to say about Obi Original’s set but, as I sit here to write this, I realize I am just lost for words. It was one of those sets that was so outside of my normal show yet hit me with such an undeniable sense of power and energy that words are failing me right now. Long story short, go check out Obi Original if you get a chance. Seriously. It’s just one of those performances that you have to see for yourself.
Obi had mentioned the importance of the headlining act, Black Market Brass, prior to jumping into his set. His words were ringing through my head as the massive band took the stage to close out the Friday night set. As Obi had said, BMB is an important band. What they have done for the afro beat scene is truly monumental and although I feel like they have never quite gotten the recognition they deserve, the fact that the room was absolutely packed as they started into their dizzying set showed me that people know the importance of this band and you could feel the appreciation and energy soar as they started playing and nearly blew the doors off the Turf Club.
I mean, the band name says it all– Black Market BRASS– as in brass band– as in horns and lots of them. It was a loud set and, at first, was honestly a little overwhelming in the intimate space of The Turf Club but, once I got used to it, it’s all I wanted to hear. Much like Obi Original, BMB blends a lot of different genres together to create their distinct sound. The last time I saw BMB, I chose to hone in on certain elements throughout the set, trying to pinpoint certain instruments or lines of rhythm. On Friday night, I decided to just take it all in as a whole and to say that was a game changer would be an understatement.
I was still hearing complicated and unfamiliar rhythms from the rhythm section but the way they melded with the horns and everything else made every song an easy yet intriguing listen. I understand that some people could have been standing there and thinking to themselves that every song sounded the same but the genius behind BMB is that, even if you had those thoughts, the band had you stuck in the palm of their hand. Quick solo breaks bookended by giant bursts of a big band sound kept every moment throughout the night feeling fresh and kept you on your toes just waiting to see what they would do next.
Much like Obi Original’s set, I thought I was going to have to cut and chop this article up what with all the things I wanted to say about Black Market Brass but, as I sit here, I realize that if you weren’t there or are unfamiliar with their sound, my words will just seem like the rantings of a crazy person so I’ll hold back. I will say that, like Obi, Black Market Brass is a band that just begs to be seen live. Sure, Friday night’s performance was a celebration of the release of their ‘Rat Trap’ 45RPM record and I urge you to pick it up but you just have to see these guys perform live to get the full effect.
Venue: The Turf Club
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd: 40
Crowd Surfers- 0
Stage Divers- 0
Mosh-ability- 1 out of 10
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Witnessed
Passed Out Kids- 0
Idiots Taken Out By Security – 0
How Irritated I Was With The Audience – 0 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Obi Original – 0
Black Market Brass– 1
Celebrity Sightings – Ann of Mostly MN Music; Tim of Space Monkey Mafia
Overall Score – 8 out of 10
Show on Deck — Ben Nichols at Grumpy’s NE for BOOM BOOM Out oes Childhood Cancer XIII
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