Thursday 14 November 2013

Femi Temowo - Opitmistic Tendencies

Femi Temowo - Guitar and Vocals
Hot off a sparkling performance at the Whirlwind Festival in October with Nick Vayenas and Alex Garnett we experienced the solo work of Femi Temowo last month (25/10/2013) at the Forge, Camden. He brought his quartet to keep him company before a modest audience and they more than just made up the numbers.

Femi Temowo is a charming and unassuming frontman, with a winning smile and his soft gentle tunes it was a night of the lure rather the hook. Despite Temowo's obvious charisma it was the togetherness of the 4 that left the strongest impression. All bathed in the Forge's warm pink glow, they seemed to blur before our eyes as though knitted from the most lush Merino wool. Even compositions with the hardest of topics, like those inspired by the Nigerian Civil War of the late 1960's or the harsh reality of segregation developed optimistic tendencies in the hands of Temowo. He was lyrical and generous with his gift especially on 'Asiko Aye' from his last album, Orin Meta.

Karl Rasheed Abel
Again and again the lanky and thoughtful figure of Karl Rasheed Abel stood proud, not just because of his stature but his playing too. In fact, on the dripping bouncy opener 'Orin Meta' there was huge void when Rasheed  stepped out of the groove. He gave us a jumping motif and a cool strut that more than once propelled us along throughout the evening.

Troy Miller - Drums
Troy Miller dominated the early exchanges between his drums and that of Joseph Oyelade's talking variety. His succinct fast pace on second tune 'Orin Ayo' caught our attention along with his handsome thin face and those sculpted strands of wisped hair that tumbled from a high forehead like a well groomed spider plant. This sex appeal that was only heightened on the fourth tune when forsaking his skins he rapped his drums sticks across his thigh as though slapping a bare arse.

Joseph Oyelade - Talking drum
Femi Temowo was a hard man to draw, always animated and I haven't achieved a good likeness of him yet. In contrast, talking drummer Joseph Oyelade came off the pen in a flash, his talking drums slipping off the shoulder as though he'd spent a day filling it with shopping from Oxford Street. A serial pouter with pursing lips in the early stages he took a stronger role as the night developed. Finishing with a fabulous bass and talking-drum combo on final tune 'Blackbird', a variation on the Beatles classic. A tune that talks of racial tensions and suppression but cast from the open hands of Temowo it was light and carefree.


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