Though not entirely unwelcome, rockin' concerts at noon on a weekday aren't the norm by any means, at least not here in Brooklyn. Despite that, Vieux and his super tight band put on an excellent, by standards day or night, West African meets rock 'n' roll show at the MetroTech commons earlier today. We (Owen and Jeff) ducked out of work for a couple hours to catch the show, and boy are we glad that we did. The crowd was a little tame at first, but after the Malian guitar slinger roared through a few familiar songs--including a cover of his late father's hypnotic "Ai Du"--they were up on their feet and dancing in the almost unbearable humidity.
Even in the mid-day heat and humidity, Vieux looked as calm and comfortable as anyone there. He was wonderfully laid-back and joyous throughout the whole performance, which was an amusing contrast to his fiery and manic guitar playing. My biggest worry when listening to Vieux is that he will take the enormous and hallowed footprint his father Ali Farka left and smother it it with his own electric guitar wizardry. I can report today that he does nothing of the sort. Vieux is his own musician with his own songs, and though the virtuosity is present and impressive, he mixes it with enough of his roots (and, notably, the roots of others) in respectful and original ways to make for seriously compelling results.
Can you spot Afropop intern Jeff?
If you missed him today, make sure you pick up Vieux's hot new album, Live. The tracks were all recorded live in concert, and if listening to the CD isn't quite as good as seeing the man himself, you can still tell he knows how to give a good show. You might even end up dancing by yourself.
Photos by Owen, write-up by Owen and Jeff.