Show Review: Taj Weekes & Adowa, Tribal Momentum – Yacht Club 8/12/11

Classes are starting soon, so the summer residents of Iowa City are running out of days to relax in the glory of a half-deserted town. On Friday night at the Yacht Club (11 S. Linn St), there was a wonderful opportunity to hear some unconventional music and unwind.

Iowa City’s Tribal Momentum makes music that mixes polyrhthymic beats, a driving horn, and bluesy rock. Imagine if the Black Keys had a smooth sax guy and a wild conga player, and you get an inkling of what these guys bring to a show. When sung by Gabriel’s raw and pleading voice, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” becomes a funky dirge. Their sound is well-focused for a group with such varied influences. They have a primal energy that fuels their music, and propels them out of the ordinary into something really interesting and fresh.

Taj Weekes & Adowa play socially conscious roots reggae. Taj’s voice is a smooth tenor, more Jimmy Cliff than Bob Marley. His sound was formed by his family’s musical traditions on St. Lucia, a Caribbean nation in the Lesser Antilles. Taj’s lyrics tell tales of struggling for freedom and respect, while the bass and drums drive a tight groove. The band plays smooth and enchanting reggae, which both educates and chills out the audience.

As demonstrated by all the funky shops, restaurants, and people around town, Iowa City has multicultural tastes. Our local bands are interesting, and our clubs bring in acts from far-flung places to meet those tastes. St. Lucia is 2600 miles away from IC, so that qualifies as far-flung in my atlas. Taj Weekes & Adowa brought some of the culture of St. Lucia all the way to Iowa, and Tribal Momentum showed off a bit of Iowa City’s own crazy culture.

More on Tribal Momentum at LV Live, with photos

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