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Parquet Courts and Mdou Moctar at the Magic Stick Detroit: Concert Review By Dexter Kaufmann

Last Sunday, I watched openers Mdou Moctar with zero expectations or knowledge of the band. My only knowledge was their classification of world music, which usually implies music that no other genre wants to claim. However in this case, Mdou Moctar’s music truly couldn’t be confined to one style. Their attire of purple and pink robes with turbans instantly grabbed my attention, and their music held it until the end of the set. 

 

Their rhythm section held a steady beat, often in 6/4. Generally, their songs droned on a single chord, and the lyrical composition was sparse and entirely in Tamasheq. Instead, the focus of the songs was on unique rhythms and the soulful playing of lead guitarist Mahamadou Souleymane. 

 

Mahamadou’s lead licks were truly a sight to behold and the non-western guitar scales obviously showcase his Tuareg roots from his home country of Niger. However, his psych rock guitar tone, along with a lefty Stratocaster showed glimpses of Jimi Hendrix. 

 

Mdou Moctar proved to be a tough act to follow, but Parquet Courts gave their fans a great show as well. They opened their set with the synth-heavy “Application-Apparatus”. The venue’s overhead lights perfectly complemented the psychedelic track. By their third song, “Dust”, the mosh pit swallowed me up, and both the band and the crowd were feeding off each others’ energy.  The rest of their setlist featured their broad range of styles and musical talents.

 

Overall, the Magic Stick Detroit was an amazing venue, and Parquet Courts put on a stellar live performance. However, the greatest revelation was Mdou Moctar, and after listening to their most recent album, “Afrique Victime”, I’m definitely a new fan. 

 

If you missed the show, listen to Parquet Courts newest album, “Sympathy for Life”. Favorite Songs: 1, 2, 6, 8

Review by: Dexter Kauffman

Photo credit: Claudia Stoops

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