Rainbow Arabia
Mighty, Potrero’s hidden gem, is fast becoming one of my favorite venues in town (at least as far as those who regularly feature artists with tectonic rattling beats are concerned). The club is medium-sized, but packed to the gills with speakers. Not just the big blaring variety but well-placed specialized ones that fill in all the gaps. You feel a bit outnumbered. An audiophile’s dream.

It’s hard and not particularly fair to try to label Johannesburg’s Spoek Mathambo. Though his recorded music jumps from Kalashnikov-clutching songs like “Mshini Wam” to the hypnotic Reznor meets Deadmau5 of “War on Words,” – his live music was 110% the former. The beats had the intensity of a stampede but Mathambo managed to keep up handily. If you pay attention to his overall output, one thing that is striking is his undeniably songwriting skills. Addictive hooks and melodies will keep you jonesing. Keep your eyes on him, this guy’s got the chops.

The headliners, married duo Rainbow Arabia, are certainly gush worthy. This was the first stop on the band’s tour to support the release of their anxiously awaited first full-length album, Boys and Diamonds. The album is sonically darker than their previous work, but equally tuneful and packs a hell of a wallop.

Rainbow Arabia belongs in the enviably category of bands who create exceptional music in the studio, but manage to bring something extra special to their performances. If I wanted to hear the album note for note, conga for conga, I would stay home with my headphones. What is even more impressive is how much they transcended an album that is a mere week old. Their set was short and fierce, which with its completion sans encore had the makings of a riot.

They’re a must-see, so hurry, after their pair of upcoming SXSW shows, you might not get a chance to see them in a medium sized club, regardless of how well placed the speakers are.

Rainbow Arabia

Rainbow Arabia

Rainbow Arabia

Rainbow Arabia

Spoek Mathambo

Mathambo

Spoek Mathambo

Spoek Mathambo