Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In
Northampton’s award-winning Afrobeat band Shokazoba spent the first eight months of this year on an unplanned hiatus, as some longtime band members moved on and new ones joined the fold. The revamped nine-piece group is back in action at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton on Saturday at 10 p.m. Also on the bill are DJ Bongohead and KMD Sound.
Keyboardist and band spokesman Jason Moses detailed the band’s tumultuous period in an interview earlier this week. Some founding members started new projects, moved across the country, decided to concentrate on their families.
“Metamorphosis is not necessarily a comfortable process, especially if you don’t see it coming,” he said. “Without a broad perspective it can seem like things are ending.”
But though Shokazoba now found itself with no rehearsal space, no sound equipment and with its once-solid core of musicians in unpredictable flux, some soul searching (spurred on by their supportive friend, disc jockey Andujar) helped them figure things out.
“Introspectively, like many other New England creatures hibernating in winter, we went into a dormant state, allowing for a regeneration of focus, energy and enthusiasm,” Moses said, calling the band “a most rewarding, stimulating, and fun musical project, so why not try to put it back together and make it work?”
So now the politically charged Afrobeat ensemble is jamming and writing songs again, and Saturday night it’ll get back in front of a dancing crowd with new members Justin Tomsovic (drums), Joshua Owsley (bass), Pablo Yglesias (percussion) and Jeremy Starpoli (trombone), along with Jason Mosall on trumpet, Dave Moses on baritone sax, Nick D’Amico on guitar, Tim Bowman on percussion and Jason Moses on keys.
Nohaybandatrio (from Italy) and Worldservice Project (from England) join locals Dust Witch, Egg, Eggs (pictured at right), and Fieldmaster at Flywheel in Easthampton Friday at 7 p.m.
The Dire Honeys, “three very distinct women with a whole lot of gumption” performing harmony-laced Americana, appear with local and loud rock duo The Demographic at the Arts Block in Greenfield Friday at 8 p.m.
Easthampton Savings Band celebrates the release of its new album at the Elevens in Northampton Friday at 9 p.m. Also on the bill are Goddard, Strange Men, Worms and some “special guests.”
Danceteria is a combination “mini record sale” and dance party, featuring soul, disco, funk and Afrobeat music spun by deejay Just Joan and guest co-spinner Andujar, at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls Friday at 9:30 p.m. Free.
Old friends and former bandmates Scott Hall (piano, vocals) and F. Alex Johnson (guitar, vocals), aka Two Man Guy, will perform an hour of tunes by Drunk Stuntmen, Colorway, Scott Hall’s solo work — and one cover song from Billy Joel’s late-1970s “not awful yet” catalog. See them join forces at the Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton Saturday (one day after Hall’s birthday) at 7 p.m. Free show.
The Ghost Wolves come from Austin, Texas, a smiling and savage duo of guitarist Carley and drummer Jonny. They make primal and thunderous blues with one foot in the garage and the other kicking into a psychedelic supernova. As their press material says, “Travel light, play heavy.” The two were last in town in 2012 opening for fellow Austinite Alejandro Escovedo, and in an interview earlier this week, Jonny described their sound: “We’re all chain-saw guitar, grit and gristle. Native American lady in all-white leather, cowboy boots, slinging some mean guitar. I’m lucky to get to play drums with her. Expect a great time. Hope you dance, and maybe even howl along with us.” The Ghost Wolves shares a bill with locals The Demographic, Young Tricksters and Save Me John Stockton at The Elevens Sunday at 9:30 p.m.
Dust Witch, Alottle, Circuit Breaker and McCoy Tyner Overdrive (members of Goddard, Egg, Eggs, 23, Belltone Suicide and Barn Owl) are at the Elevens Thursday at 9:30 p.m.