So we throw a couple trillion at the economy and the market plunges more than 300 points. Yup, all those hanging ten on the wave of Obamania are discovering that winning is a lot more fun than having won.
If you’re among the multitude who have gone from fist-bump to shoulder-slump in the space of a few short weeks, perhaps you need music that combines the spritz of hip hop with the balm of soulful R&B and the hedonistic spirituality of reggae. You need to watch a 6-foot-8 former basket-baller bound onstage and begin pogo-ing until his dreadlocks are flailing like a cheerleader’s pompons, singing don’t-get-fooled-again couplets like, “They tell you that war is a permanent thing/And those American Idolkids really can sing.”
You need a dose of Michael Franti and his band Spearhead.
As I said in a recent review of Spearhead’s latest, “All Rebel Rockers,” Franti always seems to have his fist in the air and a smile on his face, and if you think that’s incongruous, well, seeing is believing. Much of “Rockers” is produced by legendary Jamaicans Sly & Robbie, whose rubbery, dubwise beats add a little spacey-ness to Franti’s kinetic energy—think Gil Scott-Heron, with a little more honey in the vocals and a little less acid in the poetry.
Ever since breaking in with The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, a San Francisco band that opened for everyone from Public Enemy to Nirvana to U2, Franti has blended sharp political commentary with blunt rhythms that get you bouncing, rebutting the stereotype that pacifists are passive. Here he is debuting the official video of “Obama Song.”
Maybe he and Spearhead will revisit old favorites like “Rock the Nation,” “Stay Human” and “Everyone Deserves Music.” But I wouldn’t mind him sticking to the new stuff, which are as relevant as tomorrow’s headlines, with lines of outrage that are as relevant toward Obama as they were toward Bush, as in the anti-rendition section of “A Little Bit of Riddim” where he sings, “To those who torture/Oh now devil/I’m comin’ for ya.”
Michael Franti & Spearhead at 8 p.m. tonight, Feb. 12, at the State Theatre, $28.50.