Posted in music | pictures on May 5, 2014

photos by Chris La Putt; by Bill Pearis

David Byrne / the Lidaju Sisters & Alexis Taylor / finale with Dev Hynes, street dancers
ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

The music of Nigerian musician William Onyeabor was celebrated over the weekend with the two-night "Atomic Bomb" concerts at BAM. Part of this year's Red Bull Music Academy, it featured David Byrne, Blood Orange's Dev Hynes, Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor, the Rapture's Luke Jenner and Nigerian singers the Lidaju Sisters singing Onyeabor's songs, backed by a tight band (who knew how to hang loose) led by Sinkane's Ahmed Gallab. (The band also included Money Mark, LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney and more.) Saturday night's show, at least, was a fun, joyous time with as much dancing in the aisles as would be allowed.

Perhaps a tip of the hat to Onyeabor's current born-again Christian status, the night opened with street preacher Rufus Cannon wheeling his portable speaker down the center aisle, shouting testament to God and Jesus on his way to the stage, and at the end of the show a variety of street performers were brought on stage as well, giving the evening a distinctive NYC flair. The music was great, hitting most of the highlights of last year's Who is William Onyeabor? compilation, and the Lidaju Sisters performed a couple of their own songs mid-set. Both Taylor and Byrne were onstage most of the evening as part of the band when they weren't singing.

I do wish the keyboards -- which is what makes Onyeabor's music so distinctive -- had been a little louder in the mix. "Good Name," which on record has an almost Kraftwerk vibe to it, was overtaken by the horn section (which included sax great Joshua Redman). But the crowd and everyone onstage seemed to be having a genuine blast with Onyeabor's music.

The Atomic Bomb Band -- which played The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon ahead of the BAM concerts -- head to the West Coast this week for shows in LA and San Francisco. More pics from Saturday's performance below...

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ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Rufus Cannon

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Money Mark

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Jonny Lam

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Pat Mahoney

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Ish Montgomery

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Jay Tram

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Sinkane's Ahmed Gallab

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Lekan Babalola

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Dev Hynes

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Alexis Taylor

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Kofo the Wonderman

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

the Lijadu Sisters

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Luke Jenner

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

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Comments (21)

David Byrne has been announced to co-star in the new live action version of Toy Story

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 10:34 AM

looks like christian fundamentalism is the new hipster fad.

get on the bandwagon now!

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 10:40 AM

It's cute when hipsters pretend to be cultural.

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 10:45 AM

I never knew Money Mark could hover.

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 10:53 AM

Edgy baby boomers are lovin this.

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 11:18 AM

just stop it with the silly fucking hats already

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 11:51 AM

^
stop with your fucking boring life already. do the people around you complain when you are a dick?

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 12:43 PM

This show was nothing short of spectacular.

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 2:31 PM

David Byrne is a hummus eating man. Those hip thrusts were impressive!

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 2:50 PM

Who has less fun than city folk?

Posted by Mr. Foot Fetish | May 5, 2014 2:56 PM

Impoverished locals who live off of city boy and city girl's empty blue moon bottles?

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 3:23 PM

yeah, stop with the silly hats already Mr. Byrne after 28 years its getting old...


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/dd/True_stories_poster.JPG


Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 4:25 PM

great show. several shirts buttoned all the way up.

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 4:50 PM

calling Luke Jenner a "singer" is kinda bullshit, innit?

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 4:55 PM

Wait a cotton pickin minute... onyeabor is still alive? What are these poseurs doing on stage??? Get the real fucking thing!!!

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2014 8:33 PM

Onyeabor is alive but didn't want to perform, he's still getting paid for these shows! More people are listening to his music because of these performanaces. Congrats to everyone involved for working on this project! Nothing new for the sound to suck at BAM - it's usually a union sound person.

Posted by person who enjoyed this show | May 5, 2014 10:20 PM

The sound mix was awful! Could not understand the singers/ vocals. Keyboards were low and few times the horns were off.
Fun show but $65 bucks not to hear the vocals?!?

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2014 12:17 AM

This show was SICK!

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2014 11:23 AM

What time did they go on? Seeing them in SF tonight, show time at 8, guessing no opening act, obviously.

Posted by JackiePapers | May 6, 2014 1:31 PM

They went on at 8:15 and played till 10. If you were in a place with solid sound it was the show of the year.

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2014 5:47 PM

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