Seun Kuti at Coachella 2012
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As is the case each day during each year the three-day Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival has been held since 1999, Sunday afternoon led to the usual collision of overlapping performance times.

New attendees and veterans alike find themselves faced with having to make tough musical choices.

Unless, that is, they happened to have also bought tickets for the festival's first-ever second weekend, which runs Friday through next Sunday with exactly the same musical lineup as this weekend's.

For San Diegans Tom Nash, 25, and Alan Brunet, 23, the solution Sunday afternoon was to mix and match, in order to hear a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

"We're going to listen to a little more of Sean Kuti and then we'll go hear some of Santigold," Nash said, as he, Brunet and some friends danced animatedly to the red-hot AfroBeat of Nigerian music powerhouse Kutigreat that it' and his brassy band, Egypt 80, as the temperature rose to 78 degrees. "This festival is the highlight of our year and it's so close to San Diego."

Brunet, who has attended six previous editions of Coachella, smiled and nodded in agreement.

"Where else would you see an African band like this, and then an electronic music act act, and they're both great?"

Kuti, who performs Wednesday at UC San Diego's Price Center Ballroom, was indeed great. Exuding the same charisma as his legendary musician father, the late Fela Kuti, he and his band laid down a series of syncopated grooves that had the appreciative audience gyrating from start to finish. He easily lived up to the name of one of his songs, "Giant of Africa," while also providing listeners with a welcome opportunity to experience some of the music that helped lay the foundation for American funk and hip-hop.

Doubling on lead vocals and saxophone, Kuti engaged in spirited call-and-response exchanges with his two female backing vocalists, as he fused exuberant West African high-life with jazz, funk and more. As charismatic as his fabled father, and a better saxophonist to boot, he expertly led Egypt 80 as the band's music built to a sustained boil.

At one point later in Kuti's set, Santigold — who was concurrently performing on the festival's adjacent outdoor stage — seemed to be dancing in perfect sync to the song Kuti and his band were doing at that exact moment. For those standing at the right spot between the two stage, you could hear Kuti clearly while watching the giant video screens that showed a bigger-than-life Santigold bouncing up and down with wild abandon.










culled from utsandiego.com
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