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Toubab Krewe and John Brown’s Body bring worldly vibe to Charlotte

Toubab Krewe with John Brown’s Body
The Visulite Theatre
Charlotte, NC
November 27, 2012

African roots reggae music fans received quite a cultural earful on Tuesday, November 27 at the Visulite theatre in Charlotte, NC. The night proved well worth the $17 admission price as two bands – John Brown’s Body and Toubab Krewe – kicked off their “Holiday Tour” which will lead them down the east coast into Florida.

Dub and reggae sounds were pumping as John Brown’s Body started the night shortly after 9 pm. It was immediately clear that this JBB’s collective, performing for the very first time in the busy Charlotte music market, was passionate about their craft. The band used reggae as a foundation, but had a rock, funk, and a soul vibe.

JBB was lead by singer Elliot Martin, who glided across the stage, swaying his long dreadlocks along to the beat. The percussion was audibly brilliant and the band had an exceptional three piece horn section. Crowd members thoroughly enjoyed a few incredible trombone solos by Scott Flynn. Overall, the band had good variety, energy, and style.

Headlining the show was Asheville, NC world music superstars Toubab Krewe. Toubab always puts on an amazing show, using many unusual instruments to create beautiful melodies. TBK’s unique, worldly sound blends West African and American southern blues. Friends since childhood, they had the privilege of journeying together to exotic locations of Mali, Guinea, and Ivory Coast to craft their music.

Justin Perkins plays the Kamelengoni, a twelve string harp-lute that he positions between his legs and primarily plucks with his thumbs and pointer fingers. The instrument sounds beautifully twangy and really adds to the overall mystical vibe.

It happened to be Justin’s birthday after midnight, just about when the band began playing. He asked the crowd if there were any other Sagittarians in the audience and one raised his hand but would not tell how old he was, only saying “December 2nd” and “way too old.”

The drummer, Terrence Houston, looked electric as he beat on African drums and congas while other members played percussion, guitar, and bass. As always, the band stayed true to its North Carolina roots by playing a few Appalachian folk tunes (with a worldly twist.)

All in all, both bands put on outstanding performances, and all in attendance had a grand time at one of Charlotte’s most intimate venues.

Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Brad Kuntz…

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