Toubab Krewe in Ann Arbor
Photos By Greg Molitor
Words By Justin Picard
There are very few bands on the scene that get me as excited as Toubab Krewe. The unique combination of African, folk, blues, rock, and dance provide a fresh sound to the scene. The folks within' my circle had been talking about this show for a while. As the day came, more and more of my friends committed to turn out. Per usual, the Blind Pig's listed door time appeared as a baron wasteland. Not even one lingering wook.
I have been seeing Toubab for a couple of years now, and have always enjoyed what they did. Their 2009 Summercamp set blew me away. From that point on, I have sought out their music, both studio and live. Over the course of the past year I have really enjoyed the direction that they have gone. Their songs have morphed into hard, dance-able jams that peak, and peak, and peak. Often times, I find myself just laughing at the utter intensity of it all. Ultimately it's their energy and uniqueness that draws me to them. They are talented musicians who know exactly what the crowd wants... Rage.
As Toubab took the stage, the turnout at the Pig was better than I had seen in a while... And folks were still filing in. Right away the energy was high. Everyone was dancing like crazy as Toubab laid out their vision of destruction for the evening. I'm not going to pretend that I know the song titles, or attempt to give you a break down. I will however, highlight the band members and some of the key moments of the show from the perspective of a casual fan.
Justin Perkins' utilization of the Kora is nothing short of captivating. It's so easy to get sucked in to the melodic sounds that Justin brings to the table. With a look of focus, he thumb picks the notes as the crowd throws their hands up around him. Additionally, he contributed some electric guitar playing which I dig, but at times grew old due to what is in my opinion an over utilization of the surf guitar tones.
The low end was handled by David Pransky on the bass. His playing is at times heavy, driving, and solid. What stands out most to me is his ability to read the situation and provide exactly what is needed to push the jam over the top. Dave provided some excellent funk bass, leaving no other choice but to get down.
On the guitar, and I thought fiddle as well, was Drew Heller. Drew has a way of feeling out the jam and giving it that extra spice, whether it be through a slide lick or a dance-able breakdown of fingered notes. Drew's playing is often subtle and fitting to the Toubab sound.
Lastly is the percussion section made up of Teal Brown on the kit and Luke Quaranta on the djembe and hand drums. This is by far the most crucial aspect of Toubab Krewe. Teal is an absolute beast on the drums. He is consistent, precise and rhythmic. He takes the jams and adds that beat that is impossible not to dance to. It creeps up and drops on you without warning. There is nothing left to do but dance. Luke absolutely kills the percussion section. He is one of the most rhythmic cats on the scene and offers folks a taste of of what actual hand drumming should sound like.
Together Toubab Krewe brought an absolute raging dance party. At one point Erin Zindle of the Ragbirds joined Toubab on the fiddle, escalating the jam and bringing additional matching melodies to the songs. I thought she sounded better with Toubab than the Ragbirds.
Following the show my friends and I were literally horrified... Toubab had torn down the Blind Pig and left several people's minds (and faces) melted.
Go and see Toubab Krewe for yourself. As stated they are one of the most unique bands on our scene today. Consistently, night after night; they please fans all across the country. Open the door to the possibility of being one of those fans...