Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, September 23

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« Free Show at Double Door Hideout Dance Party »

Concert Thu Apr 26 2007

This Beat Is Bulletproof

Upon hearing "Uprising," the 1999 debut single by Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, many listeners mistook it for a long-lost obscurity circa early-70s Lagos. Imagine the surprise when it turned out that the thing had been cut by a group of modern-day Brooklynites. Fact is, it was an easy enough misjudgment to make, even for listeners long familiar with Fela Kuti’s afrobeat. One reason for this was that the joint was mic’d & recorded in just the “right” way that it sounded like something of that vintage and origin. But the main thing that put it over was that it'd been taken to the stage by musicians who weren’t merely copping a style, but understood and — more crucially — genuinely felt the music they were playing down to its deepest marrow. Naturally, it also didn’t hurt that the responsible party clearly involved musicians who possessed some well-seasoned and nuanced chops. Like the best of afrobeat, it was a megablast of motherland funk — eruptive, fierce, and monumentally powerful. As Bunny Wailer might’ve said: “Some things they come to you, other things they come at you, but this sound it moves right through you.”

So: lead, follow, or get out of the way. That was what Fela had in mind when he concocted afrobeat back in late 1960s Nigeria. The music was his own musical response to homegrown post-colonial blues, James Brown’s funk, and the politics of ‘60s-era Black Power radicalism transplanted onto Nigerian soil. It made Fela a celebrity throughout Africa, and a figure of scorn and unrelenting legal persecution in his own native country. It’s a music of defiance and agitation borne from the insistence (and hope) for a more humane and just society, for a better world. Because life can be enough of a struggle — only sometimes for some folks, but more times than not for others. And finding either justice or joy in life sometimes involves too much blood and fire, too much kicking against the pricks of the pressures and powers that be. Hence our identification — even if from the more comfortable, far-flung orbits, from nth degrees of removal — with certain “message” music; be it roots-reggae, punk, or the funk of Sly Stone and the Godfather of Soul. It’s both libidinal and liberatory in spirit, as much about release as resistance, good for accompanying both the shaking of hips and the upraising of fists. And the guys in Antibalas have both of those pockets covered quite solidly.

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra are playing at Park West this Friday evening. They’re touring to support the recent release of their fourth full-length LP, Security. Opening up for the band is lesbian Cuban hip-hop trio Las Krudas. Tickets are $17, and the show starts at 6pm.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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