MUSIC BOX: West Africa meets rock ‘n’ roll America

By on April 2, 2013


Jackson Hole, WYO – Toubab Krewe first played the Tetons in March of 2006 during what was then called “Last Tram Days” at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, celebrating the final moments of the resort’s original tram that first opened in 1966.

If you’re a connoisseur of out-of-the-box, yet in-the-pocket music, don’t miss the opportunity to hear mostly instrumental arrangements of traditional West African music meeting head-to-head with American rock styles. The worldly sounds and rhythms are fascinating and intricate, not to mention the Malian instruments – the kora (21-string harp-lute) and the kamelengoni (12-string harp-lute) – that are just as interesting to watch being played as to hear the melodic sounds produced. Add a splash of fuzzed-out blues and jamband improvisation, and you’ve got a dizzying melting pot.

“Basically Toubab means ‘not African’ or ‘foreigner’ or ‘white dude’ or whatever,” percussionist Luke Quaranta recently told Maui Now. “It essentially means that you are not continental African. We had been calling ourselves that in a tongue and cheek way for years, and eventually we decided to take it on as our name officially.

“We were all white guys, but actually our drummer now is African American, and he’s from Louisiana: Baton Rouge … we’ve been moving in a New Orleans direction since we started the band in 2005.”
While nearly impossible to put into any one box, Toubab Krewe is certainly muscular, original, and has a globally switched-on sound.

Toubab Krewe, 9 p.m., Saturday at the Pink Garter Theatre. Tickets are $15 at The Rose, Pinky G’s or

Minus the Bear
Twinkling guitars, sweet harmonies and pounding indie-pop-rock, Seattle-based fivesome Minus the Bear leave grit on the pavement in favor of big pop hooks and catchy (though sometimes cliche) choruses. Eighties-style synth is another common texture that peeks out on its fifth studio release, Infinity Overhead (2012).

From DIY beginnings more than 11 years ago, the band’s 2010 album, Omni, debuted in the Billboard Top 50 and they have released four LPs amongst several EPs.

“We wanted to branch out on the last record and explore some more musical directions and work with someone we didn’t know,” said guitarist David Knudson about Omni. “That was very educational and eye-opening but at the same time we weren’t in our wheelhouse.”

Drummer Erin Tate provided additional perspective. “I look at it like when we started this band we were building a house with the first three records, then with Omni we decided to go to a beach house. Now, with Infinity Overhead, we are back working on our house.”

In addition to performing at high-profile U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza and Sasquatch, Minus the Bear has toured Europe, the U.K., Japan and Australia.

Minus the Bear, 9:30 p.m., Friday, at the Pink Garter Theatre $21 advance, $24 day-of-show at The Rose, Pinky G’s or

The Attack gets Stacked
Since the disbandment of indie-rock group Elk Attack, members Dustin Nichols-Schmolze (vocals, electric guitar, keys), Bo Elledge (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion), Adam Wooley (bass), and John Wayne Harris Jr. (drums) have linked up with Uncle Stack (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica) to join the county-wide onslaught on classic rock ‘n’ roll. Meet Uncle Stack & the Attack.

“We cherry pick our favorite popular blues and rock tunes from the 60s and 70s, emphasizing lyric-driven songs with strong acoustic guitar rhythms,” Stack said. “What does that mean?  Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, The Band, The Grateful Dead, and Led Zeppelin. We also season the mix with funk jams and originals.”

This will be the last show at Town Square Tavern before the venue closes for an extensive renovation.
Uncle Stack & the Attack, 9:30 p.m., Friday, at Town Square Tavern. $5. 733-3646.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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