I will, at times, complain about the minuscule commute from my apartment to my work or the minor annoyances of first world problems. But in retrospect, these minute struggles pale in comparison to the hardships that the members of Tinariwen have faced on a daily basis growing up in war torn Africa. The Tuareg musicians from Mali have not only faced the complexities of Third World separation but also the harsh realities of conflict and loss. They have overcome these obstacles and ultimately formed a band that produces some of the best music to ever grace the world. With the release of their fifth studio album, Tassili, they have embarked on a world tour and, luckily, graced the intimate confines of the Loft, set atop the Gilleys complex.
Talking with the house manager of the Loft, it was clear that Tinariwen was perhaps the most diverse artist the venue had seen and was a welcomed sight for he and I both. But as I waited for the members of Tinariwen to take the stage, I was taken back by the lack of support these magnificent musicians had on this night. It was almost shameful. But by time they had strapped on their respective instruments and proceeded into their set, the crowd had grown by three fold and produced a modest, yet appreciative crowd. Dressed in traditional Tuareg attired, the members of Tinariwen took the stage and jumped into their hour and a half minute set. The music, formed around minimal drums, grooving bass lines, and multiple guitars provided great excitement in the venue as many of its visitors clapped in unison as the music was a breathe of fresh air. It was nothing you have ever heard before, especially live and in person. With rotating lead vocals by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib and Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni, the group complimented each other in the best way possible and made some of the best music I have seen all year. In the end, there was nothing special about the set with no flashy lights and production but it was one of the best shows I have seen in a while and definitely one I will not soon forget. Pictures and a video of the show are below:
Tinariwen @ the Loft, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 7:14:00 PM Rating: