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Thursday, August 8, 2013

BAM R&B Festival at MetroTech Preview:
Shuggie Otis

By Robert Wood

The BAM R&B Festival at MetroTech—BAM's free summertime showcase of heavy hitters from R&B, reggae, funk, and other genres—runs this year through August 8, with concerts happening (almost) every Thursday at noon. That means lunchtime for most, so for the full MetroTech experience, we suggest bringing takeout from a nearby restaurant and making an afternoon (or a long lunch break) out of it. Check back every week for these previews, which will also suggest appropriate eats to enjoy along with the music, and pigeons, in Downtown Brooklyn.

Shuggie Otis
Thu, Aug 8 at 12pm
MetroTech Commons | map

In a nutshell:
Son of R&B legend Johnny Otis and guitar prodigy who recently returned to the limelight after almost four decades of silence.

Psychedelic soul, analog drum machine funk

What to Know:
Most discussions of Shuggie Otis begin with his fourth and last album, Inspiration Information, which was completely ignored in its time but has since taken on masterpiece status. Sly Stone's jaw reportedly dropped when he first heard it, and David Byrne, who re-released the album on his Luaka Bop label in 2000, saw it as some sort of psychedelic amalgam of Marvin Gaye and D'Angelo. All of this is well-warranted. Listening to the album is like wandering through some trippy soul garden in which the terrain is familiar enough, but the details are so interesting and perfectly placed that you end up blissfully lost in the sounds from second to second, ears agog. The obsessive Shuggie supposedly played almost every instrument on the record (and there are a lot of instruments). While he won't be able to do that at MetroTech, you'll be in the presence of an unappreciated soul savant nonetheless.

You might like Shuggie if you like:
Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder

Appropriateness for getting down / getting it on:
50% / 50%

What to do about lunch: 
In the spirit of Inspiration Information's DIY approach, bring your own immaculately conceived, perfectly appointed picnic basket from home. 

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