Monday, October 01, 2007

Michael Franti and Spearhead @ The Orpheum - September 30, 2007

Fire! Fire! Fire! Light up ya lighter. Fire! Fire! Fire! While I had heard Spearhead's music on radio before (courtesy my favorite local radio station WORT 89.9 FM), I really had no clue as to what to expect at their live show. Blending a mix of hip-hop, funk, reggae, rock, R &B, and folk with introspective yet highly-charged lyrics, Michael Franti and Spearhead had the sparse-for-Sunday-night Madison crowd (and plenty of out-of-towners) jumping and chanting through a sweat-soaked, squishy-footed night of dancing and fabulous music!

Blue King Brown from Australia started off the night's party at the Orpheum. Lead singer and frontwoman Natalie Paapaa's fiery vocals andpolitically-themed lyrics coupled with the afro-beat, Latin, reggae and worldbeat sound of BKB got the crowd dancing by the stage. The band is passionate about world issues and have been invited to perform in celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Australia in 2007. My highlight of BKB's set was a Santanaesqe drums and guitar jam that had me dreadlocks flying through the air.

Mr. Bill picked up a copy of the band's debut studio album Stand Up so look out for a review soon.

On to Michael Franti & Spearhead. The group is comprised of lead singer and songwriter Michael Franti, Carl Young (Bass), Dave Shul (Guitar) and Manas Itene (Drums). I found the band to be exceptionally tight sounding with fine guitar playing, super funky bass lines and a double drum set-up complementing Franti's lyrics and on-stage charisma. The crowd was in spectacular dancing form and had come prepared with lighters for the ubiquitous Light Up Ya Lighter song. Even the venue (and security) turned out to be perfect last night.

Some pictures from the show that hopefully capture the mood from last night.... malliman


tofer said...

Unbelievable show, great photos. I was wondering if there are any more photos of the guy that was lucky and got to get on stage? I ask cuz it was me and i want as many looks as i can get! thanks!

Anonymous said...

hey M.M.- excellent photos!!!

Madison Music Review said...

Thanks for all your comments - we loved the show and it was so much fun taking the pictures.

Tofer - you rocked!! I got a bunch of really cool pictures of you on stage and will be posting them at our website: (there are a couple on the site already)

Ellery said...

AMAZING concert! I had the time of my life and got to thank Franti afterwords, having him look right into my eyes! ANNNDDD I waved to him before he went back stage around 7:15. The next day I felt sad, like I was missing something really special. So I guess that means it was AN INCREDIBLE show, huh? I wish Michael was my best friend and we could live together. hahaha ...I try to live his message though and do unto others what he has done unto me.