Taj Weekes & Adowa w/s/g Strange to Look At
Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 8:00 PM EDT
Funk 'n Waffles Music Hall, Rochester, NY
18 years and over
One basic but incomplete answer is that Taj Weekes is a dreadlocked Rastafarian musician, bred in the Caribbean but shaped by intercontinental life experience. A more significant answer would be that he is a creative, poetic singer-songwriter who fronts a dynamic reggae band named Adowa. And there’s an additional, highly significant answer, just as true as the first two. Taj is an unwavering, energetic humanitarian whose dedication extends beyond his song lyrics into his social activism, an activism that has culminated in his official role with the United Nations as “UNICEF Champion for Children” and his children’s charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO).
Adowa is a disciplined team of talented musicians from differing cultures and with broad musical influences that backs Taj Weekes live and on recordings. The name salutes the battle of Adowa in 1896, which ensured sovereignty for Ethiopia and proved crucial in the advancement of African independence and pride. Adowa’s specific line-up alternates from time to time, but at a typical gig you might see a bassist from Dominica steeped in soca, a classically trained keyboardist with roots in Barbados, a Jamaican reggae stalwart on drums, a Trinidadian guitarist, and backup singers from yet another island. What’s consistent is that the eclectic styles and tastes of its members ensure a freshness and inventiveness to Adowa’s arrangements. The faces may change, but the excellent musicianship, and the vibe, remain.
Established in 2017, Strange to Look At is a fittingly weird meeting of the minds set to shake up the Syracuse music scene.
The band's five players trace their roots back to a variety of styles — from blues to punk rock, to prog, to ska, to North Indian classical music. As Strange to Look At, they've found unity in an affinity for horror and sci-fi soundtracks and female-fronted indie rock.
At times sludgy, then psychedelic, then lush and danceable, but always a little spooky, Strange to Look At makes the kind of noise that's best experienced live.
"It made me want to trick-or-treat."
—Sam Levey, Funk 'n Waffles