Music review: Seun Kuti and Egypt 80

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Stewardship of the late Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti’s musical legacy has fallen to youngest son Seun, who now fronts his father’s legendary Afrobeat group Egypt 80, a 13-piece beast, with both strength and subtlety in numbers.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Oran Mor, Glasgow ****

Stewardship of the late Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti’s musical legacy has fallen to youngest son Seun, who now fronts his father’s legendary Afrobeat group Egypt 80, a 13-piece beast, with both strength and subtlety in numbers.

This formidable ensemble started as they meant to go on with an irresistible groove and indisputable soul, but this was mere preamble before Kuti himself took the stage. It was immediately apparent that he has inherited his father’s charisma and audacious taste in loud but splendid stage outfits, and energy levels were ramped up further on the highlife party track Pansa Pansa. The entire set was relentless and joyous, fuelled by the urgent call and response from two backing singers who kept the movement flowing, a battalion of guitarists lined up in front of the percussion and brass as if prepared to go into battle, and even a cigarette lighter raised in time to Bad Man Lighter (B.D.L.).

The saxophone was just part of Kuti’s showman repertoire. Amid all the fun, he made some smart political and cultural comments about colonialism and repression without impeding the flow of the music, threw in funny tales of his weed-scented upbringing and had the audience so firmly onside that he was capable of generating almost as much enthusiasm for the lengthy monologue which preceded African Dreams, a more thoughtful Afrojazz number, which pared the pace back a bit before the unleashing of the frenzied funky conclusion.