Local Wire

Toubab Krewe @ The Compound Grill

Toubab Krewe are neo-griot-funk from Southern freak zone Asheville, North Carolina. Their name admits they're tourists ("Toubab" = white dude) and their sound can be described as "Jampire Weekend." Blending Mali soul and Afrobeat with bluesy desert surf-twang, Caribbean scratch, and zydeco bounce, Toubab Krewe surround it all with occasional floating ambience. And sometimes they do it all in one song, like "NTB." On others, like "Fire," they play a dubby lover's rock. Their hometown-recorded Live at the Orange Peel (2009) is a fan favorite; and for street cred, they recorded "Moose," a fervent spoken-word ode to Hendrix, with the Last Poets' Umar Ben Hassan. They've dominated Bonnaroo (of course) and many other festivals. Does it all seem a bit like Caucasian exoticism? Here's my reason for enjoying the band: They remind me of when '80s Australian punks would try different rhythms and genres while bashing out raw party music. There aren't any songs quite like that in TK's set, but the band's willingness to rip it up with tasty new sounds reminds us that innovation should always keep you physically, as well as culturally, moving.

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Chris Estey