Concert Previews

Atmosphere will play the Electric Factory as part of the Family Tour.
Atmosphere will play the Electric Factory as part of the Family Tour.
Posted: April 22, 2011

Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti, son of Afro-beat legend Fela Kuti (subject of last year's short-lived, much-lauded Broadway show Fela!), has succeeded in walking the musical tightrope between honoring his father's legacy and creating something uniquely his own. After more than 20 years of touring and recording, the powerhouse musician (who sings, dances, and plays several instruments onstage) is more in demand than ever, for good reason: His updated brand of Afro-beat, fusing soul, funk, and jazz, melds powerful polyrhythmic sounds with socially conscious lyrics to both entertain and enlighten. While his dad was known for rambling onstage jams, Femi Kuti - backed by his band, Positive Force - tends to keep things tighter, with a vibe more party than protest, and dynamic, horn-driven songs that can sometimes clock in at under five minutes. Fans can expect a mix of old and new Friday night, with a focus on tracks from Kuti's rousing Africa for Africa CD.

- Nicole Pensiero

Femi Kuti and Positive Force, with guest DJ Ruder 1, perform at 9 p.m. Friday night at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. Tickets: $33, $43, $54. Information: 215-222-14000,

Steve Miller, Gregg Allman

Too old to rock and roll? Perish the thought.

Two rock legends hit the Tower on Tuesday as Steve Miller and Gregg Allman co-headline. Both are promoting new albums of blues covers - Miller's Let Your Hair Down and Allman's Low Country Blues.

The Space Cowboy is in fine voice on his tight, rollicking collection. But it won't be easy to replace the harp work of Norton Buffalo, who died of cancer in 2009.

Producer T-Bone Burnett has Allman in the high end of his register for much of the CD. But the Midnight Rider unveils his deep, bourbon-cured wail on Amos Milburn's "Tears Tears Tears."

Both singers cover Muddy Waters' "Can't Be Satisfied" on their new releases - a fact that augurs well for a jam.

- David Hiltbrand

Steve Miller and Gregg Allman play 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Tower Theater, 19 S. 69th St. Tickets: $25-$95. Information: 610-352-2887,


On its CD The Family Sign, Atmosphere continues to dial back on the smart-aleck asides and righteous anger that were keys to the Minneapolis duo's ascendancy to indie-hip-hop stardom. It's a sign of maturity. As Slug (a.k.a. Sean Daley) states at the beginning of "Millennium Dodo," "Why don'tcha all just sit back and let a man grow." A meditation on family and friendship, the legacy of one's past, and the difficulty of one's present, The Family Sign sets Slug's impressive storytelling to sparse, mid-tempo beats from Ant (Anthony Davis), thickened with reverberating funk from guest guitarist Nate Collis and keyboardist Erick Anderson. Sunday at the Electric Factory, Atmosphere tops a night of hip-hop from the Rhymesayers collective, on a bill that includes Blueprint and Grieves with Budo.

- Steve Klinge

WPRB Presents the Family Tour with Atmosphere, Blueprint, Grieves with Budo, Sab the Artist, and DJ Abilities at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. Tickets: $26. Information: 215-627-1332;

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