Support comes from Lakuta, a Brighton based collective with a new album “Brothers and Sisters” on the local Tru Thoughts label. They play an infectious blend of Afrobeat, with Kenyan-Tanzanian vocalist Siggi Mwasote ensuring the crowd are nicley warmed up with her exuberant performance.
After a short break, Egypt 80 are introduced one at a time and take to the stage. The large band, many of whom played with Fela Kuti, are comprised of drums, bass, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, batitone sax, congas, two other percussionists and two female backing singers.
They immediately strike up a lively Afro-Funk horn-led groove and the trumpet player begins to sing “African Soldier”, the first song on the 2011 album “From Africa With Fury: Rise”. He then introduces Seun Kuti, a jovial figure who bounds onto the stage in a brightly patterned outfit. He starts with “Mr Follow Follow”, one of his Dad’s songs, a harsh critique of those who follow religion without question.
Throughout the gig he delivers good natured speeches that contain barbed references to Christians, Muslims, intolerance, racism and the treatment of poor people throughout the World. He introduces a new song from their latest E.P. “Struggle Sounds”, repeating the title several times before telling us that the song “Gimme My Vote Back (C.P.C.D)” stands for “Corporate Public Control Department”. In true Kuti tradition it’s a song about the inefficiency of government and politicians that manages to be upbeat and groove heavy without being too preachy.
The whole band are lively and enthusiastic performers, with the two singers also displaying nifty dance moves. Seun Kuti occasionally plays alto sax or moves stage right to play keyboards, but most of the time he’s the main focus centre stage delivering an energetic performance that leaves him sweating and removing his shirt to play the rest of the set bare-chested.
He casually mentions that they usually play for four hours in Nigeria, so with the eleven p.m. curfew here in Brighton he’s playing for a quarter of his usual time for twice the price. They end their jubilant set with “Theory Of Goat And Yam” and I’m sure the packed and enthusiastic crowd would have been happy to dance along with Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 for longer.