Contributed by Sullivan Dildine, AMF Intern
Photo by Ismael Quintanilla III
When last we saw Kalu and the Electric Joint, they had just clambered off stage after inciting a riot of dance at Antone’s during AMF’s NEXT showcase last year. After completing the 2018 Artist Development Program, the band released a slew of pent up energy on a packed house of unsuspecting concert goers. Since that clinic of creativity, the band has been rocketing through barriers and expectations, leaving the rest of us to trail behind and wonder what they’ll do next.
As of now, their rap sheet includes a performance on Jam in the Van, and write-ups in AFROPUNK, the Austin Chronicle, and RIFF MAGAZINE. They’ve opened for acts like George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic, Vieux Farka Toure, performed at Bonnaroo, and recorded with the legendary Brett Orrison. If you’ve been sleeping on Kalu and the Electric Joint, it’s time to wake up.
Kalu James first emigrated to Austin at the age of 18. His first foray into music arrived in his friendship with Jonathan “JT” Holt. In the fusion of Kalu’s West African influences and JT’s touch of rock and roll, the weed for an electric joint was grown. But they needed rolling paper. Enter John Speice, the drumming and percussion extraordinaire who just happened to have an affinity for the rhythms of Kalu’s homeland. And so Kalu and the Electric Joint was born. Through a long-term residency at the legendary Continental Club, the band forged their signature sound – the “boogie-down blend of ethno-funk and neo-soul” we know them for today.
In the last year, that composition has evolved, and Kalu and the Electric Joint have just released something entirely new. The hauntingly heavy single “Shadows” is a nearly five-minute epic; A melancholic cry for hope in a city full of pain; A perfect song to vibe to in the oncoming apocalypse. With this fresh evolution of their sound perfected, Kalu and company are ready to unveil their new work at their old stomping grounds.
On February 28th, Kalu and the Electric Joint will be performing live in concert at the legendary Continental Club. Alongside their friends Think No Think and Medicine Man Revival, Kalu and the Electric Joint will be inspiring dance and awe all night. If you enjoy great music and are curious about what the future of Austin music looks like, doors are at 9. We’ll see you there.