Bengali 600 are on their way to making Afrobeat a regular pulse in Orlando

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The Rules at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • The Rules at Iron Cow
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Bengali 600 and the Rules, Iron Cow, Feb. 27

Orlando band Bengali 600 are currently on a quest to make Afrobeat a regular part of the local music pulse. Luckily, it looks like they have a chance. Their latest headlining Afrobeat night was the second one this year. With a third actively in the works already for March, this is on its way to blossoming into a monthly tradition. And people are coming.

Bengali 600 at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Bengali 600 at Iron Cow
Because Bengali 600 are one of the city's most visible bearers of the Afrobeat torch, it's a march led by able pied pipers. Their take on the tradition is a literate and devout one. These guys are disciples, not casual tourists. That they have little real competition doesn’t take away from their worth – it probably only emphasizes it.

Bengali 600 at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Bengali 600 at Iron Cow
Bengali 600 at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Bengali 600 at Iron Cow
On stage, they’re a well-stocked septet (an octet when Orlando legend Anthony Cole joined them at this show) complete with keys, full percussion and lead horn section.



Bengali 600 at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Bengali 600 at Iron Cow
Bengali 600 at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Bengali 600 at Iron Cow
Their groove is well-calibrated and perpetual, stoking but elegant. Even though the throb is occasionally tricked out with quality solos, the streamlined roll of this groove is king and no one is above it. And as a unit, they move with a step that's both limber and tight.

The Rules at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • The Rules at Iron Cow
Warming up the night were the Rules, an esteemed veteran local act from the early 2000s. With the addition of some Bengali 600 members, this was an expanded six-man version of the band. Although famous as a drummer, Anthony Cole was again all in on the sax when playing with the Rules.

The Rules at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • The Rules at Iron Cow
This performance cast their signature blend of synth-laced space funk, jazz and post-rock in a more earnest and expansive light than in times past, showing off their musical intelligence with much less comedic distraction. Luckily though, the fun humor that's always marked the Rules wasn’t completely neglected and the irrepressible slink of their robot-funk jam "PT & A" made its way onto the set list.

The Rules at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • The Rules at Iron Cow
The Rules at Iron Cow - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • The Rules at Iron Cow

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com


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