Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 at Òran Mór, 3/5/18

A loud cheer greets Seun Kuti as he bursts onto the stage in a dazzling blue and yellow disco-floor suit with shoes to match.

Letting the band play the first few songs before making his entrance, if anyone in the crowd isn’t yet moving their feet, they soon are as Kuti’s high-energy all-singing, all-dancing approach has him dripping with sweat 10 minutes in.

From Okon Iyambe cradling his shekere like a baby to the costumed dancers/ singers, the packed stage is a sight to behold.

The 13-strong ensemble all get their share of the limelight as Kuti lets several take centre stage to boast their individual talents with their instruments.

The lively afrobeat lifts the roof as Kuti sings several of the songs from his new album Black Times.

‘African Dream’ criticises the American Dream and western culture while ‘Struggle Sounds’ depicts the fight of the people against corruption and for freedom.

Kuti’s discontent with ‘the system’ is a clear common theme throughout.

He proudly speaks of the control he had over this new album after investing heavily in it and it is a clear this is something he wants to use to speak his mind.

‘Last Revolutionary’ is a message that the people of Kuti’s native Nigeria and other oppressed countries will not stop fighting and will not give up until they have achieved their ultimate goal of freedom.

Kuti takes time out of the gig to speak out against governments or “corporate departments of public control” as he calls them.

Although not particularly radical or revolutionary, his lengthy speaking out against racism and homophobia is well-received by a crowd with several superfans evident including Kuti’s ‘fan of the night’ who throughout the gig cleans his shoes, kisses his hand and passes him a joint from the crowd.

Despite the lulls that were the monologues throughout, on a musical and entertainment side it is a very fun, action-packed night for all and with any luck Kuti will be back in Glasgow soon.

As the tattoo on his back referencing his famous father says, ‘Fela Lives’ on through his youngest son.

Words: Chris Cox


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