June 26, 2024

Mdou Moctar played Bowery Ballroom

In support of the new album Funeral for Justice, Mdou Moctar hit Bowery Ballroom for their first of two NYC shows this week.

Ahead of their show at Brooklyn's Warsaw venue, Niger's Mdou Moctar added a more intimate set at Bowery Ballroom and tore through the performance with a raging force of blistering heat and euphoric guitar work that blew the roof off place. Entering to some muffled spoken word, the band, brandishing their instruments in the ready position, allowed the tension to build and the crowd to roar before they ripped into a chaotic rendition of "Funeral for Justice" that erupted with fiery guitar licks and had the audience going bonkers from the beginning of the night. The feeling only increased as things progressed. With little said between songs, the band really let the music speak for itself. Even though the lyrics aren't in English, the power of the rhythms and melodies were enough to carry the message. Creating the album for which this tour is supporting after being denied the ability to return home, the band was stranded in America and began to write about their experience and the death of their culture due to colonialism that has ravaged their country for decades. Through face-melting guitar heroics and masterful drum fills, the band is able to convey these thoughts with righteous virtue, the songs sending the message loud and clear (with an emphasis on the loud). Painting the night with bold streaks of color, the guitar work was illuminating, unvanquished, and the unequivocal star of the show, taking us all on such an incredible journey of full-fledge kaleidoscopic wonder. Rumbling bass was a strong constant throughout the set, burying itself into the chests of the audience with a raw, physical power that was nearly overwhelming at times and the snare drum, while carrying the rhythm, also was high in the mix and came close to eclipsing the triumphant guitar riffs. Luckily as the night carried on, Moctar bumped up his stage presence as he edged toward the crowd to dazzle us all with his finger-tapping skills and the crowd cheered him on with emphatic cries and howls. Stretching things out, Mdou flexed on the crowd all night long, upping his ante with each track and when the band found their jams, they really let them cook, digging in deeper to allow the psychedelic swirls to dance around the stage before blanketing the crowd with their magnetic and enthralling powers. Using his guitar like a wand, Moctar waved it over the crowd, enchanting each and every one of us with his brilliant virtuosity and mind-melding display of talent. The encore was a blown-out version of "Afrique Victime" and laid the crowd to waste with its life-affirming riffs and moving solos that were all backed with rhythms stronger than steel and drum rolls that filled every corner of the track to maximize the impact of the tune. As the song raged on, someone jumped up and stage dove back into the crowd, upping the elements of the night once again while unbridled joy began to fill the room, the powerful effects of positive and hopeful tunes giving the audience the extreme joys that only music can bring to our lives.

No comments: