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COLUMN

This Little Underground

Bao Le-Huu takes on Johnny Knuckles, Portals, ASG, K.G. Omulo and more

Photo: Angelo Malicsi, License: N/A

Angelo Malicsi


Colorado opener Bad Weather California was also an odd mash of styles and an equally skewed sensibility that had interesting moments of salience. But if they reined in those go-nowhere, do-nothing bits of goofiness, they would be much more indisputable. Their considerable spirit’s best when it’s cranked up instead of allowed to wander about. They’re onto something, they just need to carve the silly fat.

For a while, local combo K.G. and the Band was ubiquitous on the scene. Although they’ve been laying low recently, taking the form of, according to frontman K.G. Omulo, an “indefinite side project,” the singer has apparently been busy making a record. And good for him for focusing enough to make a proper album instead of just cruise-control gigging into meaninglessness. For his CD release party (Jan. 14, the Social), Omulo rolled it out with a huge 10-player ensemble. Spanning Afrobeat, funk, soul, Caribbean and Latin, his flashy global bouillabaisse is something like a merge of Eugene Snowden’s work in the Legendary JC’s and Snowden’s more Afro-centric group Liberation 44. And amid all the flavor, flair and dazzle, what unifies everything is a vibrant sense of melody and hook. Despite all the instruments, Omulo’s voice is the heart and soul here, and it’s what carried the day. His ease, generosity and polish as a performer is as good an anchor as you can hope for.

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