Baaba Maal, Yeasayer, Tinariwen, and Fool's Gold @ The Hollywood Bowl, 6/20/10
On a warm summer evening in June, KCRW kicked off its World Music Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in grand style. They presented the crowd with four bands, two American and two African, who couldn't be more different, but were all linked by their use African inspired drumming within their songs. It was really fascinating to watch the same beats reborn in four completely unique ways almost like a musical Iron Chef challenge.
First up were the local favorites Fool's Gold, whose debut album came out last summer on IAMSOUND Records. Clad all in summery pastels the seven members of the band looked relaxed as they launched into their first song. This is a band that doesn't shy away from any influences, but chooses to incorporate them all. It seems like everything they could lay their hands on would be part of the song. Horns, guitars, congas, various shakers, shells, even language is used to make their music more varied. Lead singer Luke Top immigrated to the States from Israel when he was young and effortlessly glides between English and Hebrew often within the same song. The result was this lovely, very ornate pop that doesn't sound like anything else. One can only wonder what would happen if you left them alone with an orchestra.