Saturday, February 28, 2009

LIVE REVIEW: Michael Franti and Spearhead

Posted by T. Ballard Lesemann on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 4:46 PM

City Paper caught some great shows last week. Some were covered in this week's Concert Reviews. Stratton Lawrence and Josh Dybzinski attended a sold-out lively Saturday night show at the Farm as well. Here's a review:

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Music Farm

Sat Feb. 21

A band could once build a name and massive following on a few enthusiastically played chords and a strong message. But music as a political force has lost much of its societal influence. Rage Against the Machine inspired folks in the last decade, but their popularity was as much due to the originality and sheer force of their sound as their lyrics. Enter Michael Franti. Unlike the folks who walk out of a Steve Earle concert because they love his music but can’t handle his message, everyone at a Franti and Spearhead show seems to be on the same page.

Maybe they’re just impressionable. Wen Franti says to put your hands up, the crowd obeys. But when he talks about his experience meeting regular Iraqis in Baghdad, or the stories he hears playing in prisons, hopefully everyone’s soaking that in, too. The Music Farm was packed on Saturday. Feb. 21, and it’s refreshing that such a motivating performer can sell-out a gig four days in advance. At one point, Franti called up two fans onto stage, then gave them each a guitar (including his) to jam out for the crowd. It seemed like the sound crew killed the guitar volume and cranked up a backing track, but the two dudes ate it up, leaping around the stage for an appreciative audience. Franti held back on the “How you feelin’??!!” shouts he’s known for, but on the way out the door, everyone seemed to be feelin’ pretty good. —Stratton Lawrence

(LIVE PHOTOS BY JOSH DYBZINSKI)

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