Concert Review: United Affair, Tunde Olaniran, and Hollow & Akimbo
July 25, 2014: The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor
I’d like to start out by apologizing for this being so late! I’m usually quick to get concert reviews done, but my life has been a small bundle of chaos lately with no real downtime to spend on any side projects. With that said, lets get right to it…
United Affair is a foursome from the heart of Ann Arbor, MI made up of bassist Ryan King, acoustic Patrick Beger, drummer Josh Wiechmann, and Sonya Belaya on keys. They remind me of 70’s feel good rock quite like Van Morrison. Frontman Beger announced “Grant Park,” a song about his favorite park in Chicago. The bass beats in the beginning of this song instantly reminded me of some funky Three-Eleven (311). Beger told the venue that he had almost given up on music. He was in Chicago for two years and played zero shows, but the moment he moves to Ann Arbor (for school) he got a band together and was actually getting somewhere. He said, “Playing at the Blind Pig is like a dream come true.” United Affair mixes electronic with acoustic and it makes for a unique sound. I wish them luck on their new journey as a band together!
Since Jessica had seen Tunde Olaniran live I hadn’t stopped hearing her talk about what a great show he puts on. Given that, I was excited to finally experience him live myself. After United Affair ended their set, Tunde put on some electronic beats for the venue to enjoy and walked off stage. Time is blurred, as I was preoccupied chatting with Jessica and my boyfriend Dan, but I noticed them getting ready to enter from the crowd.
In a single file line, Tunde and two females, who had painted their faces, shimmied out into the middle of the dance floor as soon as the beginning of the next song started. His dancers took position on stage as he finished dancing and joined them. The crowd moved in close and left no space to move around the stage. I was so immersed in his show; Tunde’s stage presence is addicting. There was never a moment between songs, he never slowed down. At one point his dancers wearing white t-shirts (one had “Gun” and the other had “White Flag” written on them) ripped them off and were wearing leotards and pleather skirts. They made no facial expressions and were very robotic, but it was such an awesome touch to his show. Tunde even made a point to dance with them off and on throughout the night. I found it quite hilarious when he sang “H-O-N-E-Y” and asked the crowd if they knew how to spell honey, rolling his eyes, to get us to sing along with him. I love how fun his music and show is, but how real his lyrics are. It’s clear that Tunde wants you to not only enjoy his music, but have fun as well.
Hollow & Akimbo got on stage and immediately declared “neither one of us is Hollow nor Akimbo”. Band members Jonathan Visger, Brian Konicek, and Mike Higgins jumped straight into “Still Life”. They had set up white sheets across the back wall and had crazy lights going all night throughout their set. Visger explained later that they wanted to take things a step further than just getting on stage and playing music. The band prepared only a night before with the effects they used and it worked out in their favor; it was a nice touch in such a small venue. I was excited to hear “Singularity” so soon in their set (probably my favorite song from their self-titled album), followed by “Instead of a Head.” Looking around the venue, when my eyes weren’t hidden behind my camera, everyone was sipping some sort of beverage, swaying to the music and just enjoying themselves. Hollow & Akimbo shared three new songs with us: “No Clue”, “Drawing Board” and the last has yet to gain a title. Each of these songs made me excited for a new album. One of my favorite moments of the night was when Visger put down his guitar and really got into his music by showing us his groovy dance moves. Hollow & Akimbo ended the night with “Trunk of a Dead Tree” and “Fever Dreams”.
If you haven’t seen these guys live, Hollow & Akimbo will be back with Tunde Olaniran in Bay City, MI at Hell’s Half Mile Fest on September 27th!