Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 shake up the soul

Rolling up to the Metro on Saturday night for Seun Kuti, son of Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti, and his full original band, Egypt 80, saw the mood fairly subdued, with a small crowd pleasantly milling by the bar. It remained like this as Watussi, the Afro-Colombian party-starting octet began their set. It started out a bit like a high school dance with a few “boppers” (me included) but mainly people just chilling. I have to hand it to Watussi though, they played an incredibly exuberant, awesome set, with smiles so infectious, the small crowd slowly inched closer to the stage and the bops became little shuffles (mine also included). By the end, everyone had loosened up and the crowd came to life.

With a short trip to the bar we returned to watch the members of Egypt 80 being individually introduced, in their full African robes, together with two hot booty-shaking girls – dressed in loin cloth skirts and tops with beads and painted faces – who proceeded to do some of the coolest dancing I have ever seen. *Going home to practice booty shaking in front of mirror*.

As Seun Kuti took to the stage to hoots and screams, he began a lively warm-up with his sax and the dancing began. It didn’t cease until the music stopped an hour or so later. It was one of those gigs where everybody had enough space, no-one was arsey and everyone had a really good time. In between songs he talked money, politics and, of course, weed. Plant It and Watch It Grow was a stand out song that got everyone excited, as did the many original Fela tunes. The band was so energetic and tight, the whole performance was brilliant and Seun is a machine, as was evident looking at his cheese grater abs when his shirt came off half way through (woo!) and the way he gyrated, snake-like across the stage non-stop for the whole performance.

Being just 14 years old when he took over the lead of his legendary father’s band, you would think he would have been nervous about carrying the weight of such a mighty legacy on his shoulders, but as I heard him say in an interview, it wasn’t like that at all. It was simply a continuation of his father’s music, playing original Afrobeat, singing about the people, for the people. He definitely proved that at The Metro and has successfully become a leader in his own right. Together they’ve made music that shakes up the soul. In short, this gig was amazing!


Words and home page picture by Kate Holcombe. Above picture of Seun from his Brighton gig by 25ThC. You can catch Seun in London on Saturday the 23rd November. Details here.