March 27, 2006

SXSW Report #22: Nomo @ Habana Calle 6

After His Name Is Alive's set, three-fifths of the band remained on stage to play with the subsequent act, Nomo. Nomo is a nine-piece instrumental ensemble (a four-piece horn section, a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and two percussionists) that plays Afrobeat-inspired grooves in the same vein as Antibalas. The set began with one of the members playing two syncopated melodies on an amplified thumb piano. One by one, the other band members walked in and added their respective instruments to the mix. Within five minutes, their showcase became the closest thing that SXSW would come on Thursday evening to a bonafide dance party. Even the songs they played without an actual drummer were so propulsive that I couldn’t help but move along to them. The bassist bore a striking resemblance to Lil’ Jon, and he knew it; he punctured the silence between songs with shouts of “YEAH!” and “WHAT!” It’s such a shame that they were only given an hour to play because I could’ve listened to any of their songs for hours at a time. They seemed to feel the same way; after they were told to get off stage, the horn section formed a conga line in the audience and played without microphones for 10 more minutes.

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