So last Thursday I got to see Tony Allen at a venue in London called the Village Underground. I was very excited to see him play since I have a bit of a drum infatuation with his incredibly funky and unique drumming. The set comprised the songs on his new album Film Of Life and I felt very glad to go and see the great musician’s left foot in action in real life, so to speak.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t really get into the set. The band was brilliant but the sound was really bad, the balance was all wrong. I got the feeling the sound guys thought they were doing a dance music gig, the synths and bass were far too loud. There seemed to be too much gating and compression on the drums losing a lot of the nuance of Tony Allen’s drumming. To add to the frustration, the stage was permanently in a fog as if the venue’s dry ice had reached its use-by date and they decided to use it all up rather than let it go to waste.
I highly recommend Film Of Life, Allen’s current album and am looking forward to another opportunity to see him live again, hopefully under better circumstances.
The support band was absolutely brilliant. Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa is a Moroccan singer backed by some Senegalese musicians. They had brilliant groove and I was enthralled by their polyrhythmic music.