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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

January 9, 2010 at 11:05 AM

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The non-review: Shabazz Palaces at Neumos 01/08/10

Posted by Andrew Matson

Shabazz Palaces at Neumos

The first ever Shabazz Palaces show in Seattle was even better than the Central District act's debut album, which topped the best releases of 2009 for any popular musical genre, local and national. Experiencing the concert was like going on a psychedelic trip to Africa with an intercontinental, multi-generational hiphop soundtrack.

The stage held drum machines, African percussion instruments, and was adorned with African-looking textile tapestries that read "Shabazz" and "Palaces." The moment Ishmael Butler Palaceer Lazaro walked on, fully in-character, a new folk hero was born: the coolest, most mystical hiphop sheikh imaginable.

There is much to be said about this concert, and I'll say some of it, but not now. I have some YouTube stuff uploading and will contribute some form of written review later. For now, know that from the physical performances of the people on stage to the sound of the music itself, Shabazz Palaces raised the bar for art in this city, and the fact intense anticipation had built from a slow buzz last June sent what already seemed like an artistically significant night to another level.

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