Tag Archives: Antibalas

Antibalas Star Theater Thursday, March 31st 2022

A completely empty venue with only minutes before the opening act took the stage.

Another show I almost missed because I didn’t hear about it till two weeks before the event. Only because I was looking at the True Loves touring page and saw a show in Portland that I knew Antibalas was playing at Star Theater. In fact I was a lot shocked that Antibalas was touring again. Last thing I read was they where breaking up. I think what happened was the lead singer moved on to do different things while the core band stuck around. If they did officially break up the rest of the band couldn’t stay away for long and eventually started jamming and creating new music. With all the new music they created a tour was in order and I agree.

Continue reading Antibalas Star Theater Thursday, March 31st 2022

Antibalas Stage 722 Saturday, February 22nd 2020

Second day of the PDX Jazz Festival for me and I was out seeing more live music. This night it was Antibalas playing at a new venue I had never heard of, Stage 722. Unlike the night before I didn’t over sleep and made it was plenty of time to see all the acts performing that night.

First time at this venue and checking the site they don’t book many shows. A newer space based on the construction. When you first walk in it is lined with food stalls to the right serving all sorts of food. This is also where some benches are to sit. There is a huge bar in the middle but it’s difficult to get to. The bar also have this huge weird drywall all the way to the ceiling which just looks out of place. In the back is another small bar. Never made it to the second level to check it out. Looks like maybe some stools or maybe bar tables up there. The stage is along the entrance wall and the floor is polished concrete.

First up was POPgoji who started at 9pm on the dot. Not my type of music. They reminded me a lot of this band that opened for George Porter Jr. that I believe was from New Orleans. POPgoji had a lot of bass drums which didn’t fit every song. Lots of horns. Just something I had a hard time getting into.

The True Loves

The True Loves who performed next I was excited to see yet again. It was not till this time around that I recognized Skerik whom I saw as a part of Garage-a-Trio. Most recently in Seattle for a three show reunion run. I have seen The True Loves a few times so I’m surprised it took me this long to figure it out. This is also the closest I’ve been to the band so I could see his face. Another good set from them that night. A few covers but a good amount of energy. At the end of the set they plugged their after party performance at Jack London Revue which I thought was in poor taste. Sorry not everyone at this sold out show for the Antibalas was there to see just you guys.

The Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe show the night before was over before Antibalas even took the stage this evening. I was not sure how long they would play but I knew it was going to be a late night. I was glad it was a Saturday and the venue close to my apartment. They played till almost 1am and it was an amazing show. I love the afrobeat rhythms from them. Played some of their earlier work and from their new album that just dropped, Fu Chronicles.

Well before the end of the night people started dropping like flies. I know it’s late but it was sold out and Saturday night. I feel more people should have stayed till the end. Only real disappoint was no encore that night. Try as we might we couldn’t get the band back for another song. Maybe it was the thinned out crowd.


At the end of the set Amayo made a similar speech like Karl did the night before. I don’t remember the exact words but it was a group chant he starts that I have heard at a previous Antibalas show. Something like “love will overcome.” The point was more love from everyone in this world. Something we can always use more of.

An interesting venue to say the least. I can honestly say I have never seen a design quite like this one. Certainly a good multi use space for all types of events. Not really sure how well it works for a music venue but I would come back. I will skip POPgoji next time, not my thing. The True Loved kicked ass and Antibalas brought the house down with their African rhythms.

Saturday, February 22nd 2020
Stage 722 – Portland, OR

Sold Out

POPgoji from 9pm off at 9:41pm
The True Loves from 9:56pm off at 10:47pm

Set 1 starts at 11:16pm

  1. .
  2. Song played on the radio I recognize
  3. .
  4. Another one I know but not the name

  5. Set over at 12:50am

Antibalas Wonder Ballroom March 17th 2018

Everything you need to know in one sign.

Since seeing the Antibalas open for MMW so many years ago at the 9:30 Club I have wanted to see them again.  If I am correct they are from Ontario so east coast is harder for them to put a tour together.  I lucked out when I moved to Portland and caught their stop at the Wonder Ballroom on their recent swing through the northwest to ended their winter tour.

The show didn’t start till 8pm and for some reason I thought Antibalas would go on at 8 and play two sets.  Instead they had an opening act and they played one long ass set.  My timing was perfect when I arrived.  I rolled right up into the place and within 5 minutes the 1939 ensemble was taking the stage.  Needless to say I got really close since no one was in the place that early.  These guys were really enjoying themselves on stage and into the music.  They did some serious pre-game and where spot on for the night.  An interesting mix of instruments and music.

After a short break Antibalas took the stage and killed it.  Well with the exception of the first song or two, something like that.  The start was just a little weird, you had to be there but after that hiccup they where off like a rocket.  Because I arrived so early I was really close till the encore so I had a great view of the band.  It was amazing to see all these guys on this tiny little stage playing their hearts out.

The flow of the music and the rythm all night where great.  The crowd was really into the music and it was weird but at times the music was very relative to whats going on today.  It seemed like a political rally at times, it was great.  Marcus kept getting the crowd to chant between songs about love.  The world could certainly use more peace and love.  Such a great show and performance by the band.  Very happy I was able to make it that night.

This tour was in support of their new album.  Living in the pacific north west I hope I can see them more regularly then when they happen to release a new album.  Such energy and a vibe from the band and crowd.  The two that night where in perfect sync.


Thursday, March 15th 2018
Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR

1939 ensemble opened

Show starts at 9:12pm
1. ….
2. Dirty Money
3. .
4. .
5. Gold Rush
6. .
Set over at 10:50pm

Encore starts at 10:52pm
10. .
11. .
12. ?
House lights at 11:14pm


Medeski, Martin, and Wood 9:30 Club October 27th 2011

Medeski, Martin and Wood with Antibalas 9:30 Club Washington DC
three shows only!

This year MMW decided to role through town a little early, they didn’t contact me when putting the tour together which was unfortunate. Usually their yearly winter trek to Washington is in November.  I convinced Rob to join Jeremy and I for the show this year.

Rob meet me at the shop and we headed into the city early to get some food and have a few drinks before the show. We had hope to eat at a Greek restaurant but the one we found, despite its great reviews, was carry out only. We continued to walk and I saw a sign for $2 drafts at the Tap and Parlour. We needed to wait for Jeremy and his date to arrive so we headed in for a quick drink. Unfortunately for us it was the bartenders first day on the job and it showed.  It took forever for Rob and I to get our first drink and she gave the wrong change to another guy. When I got my second beer it had a huge head and was the wrong type. With all the trouble we had just getting our checks and my second beer, we were just happy to get out of there..

By now Jeremy and Sam arrived and we decided to stay for dinner and some more drinks. Thankfully the food was pretty good and the waitress was able to keep up with our simple requests for drinks. I got the crab cake sandwich and it was pretty good, Sam got some jerk chicken pasta that was really good.  We stayed here pretty late before heading to the venue.

Opening for MMW was the Antibalas, which I later found out was an afrobeat band. Michael Ruetten’s podcast has introduced me to many afrobeat bands and I dig the rhythmic jazz sound they have.  In particular, I encourage everyone to check out Fela Kuti and his music if you want to get a taste of what afrobeat has to offer.  I would have loved to catch the entire set, the few songs we heard were great.

MMW came out a little late but played a solid set. All year they have been slowly releasing songs from their newest album 20, in celebration of their 20th anniversary. The first set included a few tracks from it and a few older ones as well. At the conclusion of the set we found out it was an all request set which is something they never do.  If I had know I would have submitted my own playlist, in fact I have a well put together playlist they can use anytime.  I have a feeling that it was a Facebook thing, something I am proud to say I am not on. They also announced that they would be returning shortly with the Antibalas for a joint set. Are you kidding me!

MMW with the Antibalas
a horrible picture, but you get the idea

I used the set break to get a double shot of coffee for Rob who looked like he was about to pass out. He had been working twelve hour days leading to the show so for him to come out and stay so late was a bit of a stretch. I advised him to stay for the first set but he persevered and was staying into the second. The whole time the stage crew is setting up the stage for the Antibalas.  You should have seen the stage setup with twelve members of the Antibalas and three from MMW with their large presence on stage.

Usually when a band is about to take the stage it is somewhat of a surprise, tonight there was little. I saw the band members congregate on both sides of the stage and then it was on, took the light guy by surprise. Billy quickly addresses the crowd and announced the winner of the pumpkin carving contest, there was only one entrant.  He made a short speech about working with the Antibalas in the past and that they would collaberate in the future on more songs, onto the music.  The entire second set with both bands together kicked total ass.  The guys played a mix of both bands songs.  When they would play an Antibalas song the groove was tight, when it was an MMW song the horn section in particular added a nice rhythm to the mix.

The two bands played for a solid hour before the house lights came on just before midnight.  I couldn’t believe my luck, seeing the two bands play together like that totally made the trip worth it.  On my way home that night I was energized for some afrobeat and played Fela Kuti. It was after 1am before I finally crawled into bed and Friday I was hurting most of the day.  My old bones can’t take many late night concerts in DC and then working the next day. I hope the next tour they stick to their traditional Friday or Saturday night gig in middle November.