There are a lot of people who would cringe at the thought of seeing an “Afro-Colombian punk and folkloric funk band,” as the M.A.K.U. Sound System refers to itself. Not because any of those things individually is a turnoff, but because collectively the words could imply a high-concept world-beat overreach. There’s really only one thing to know about M.A.K.U.: It goes hard. The Queens, N.Y., band’s Latin foundations are unshakable, and East Coast urban steeliness also shapes the final product. The audience-oriented attitude of hip-hop is in the mix sometimes, as well the dissonance of avant-jazz. Overall, M.A.K.U. plays with a sense that if it couldn’t captivate a street party or a dive bar with these grooves, it shouldn’t be playing them at all. And that energy, of course, also makes the band captivating in a big, friendly outdoor setting like Strathmore or an intimate dancehall like Tropicalia.
M.A.K.U. Sound System plays at 7 p.m. outside the Strathmore Mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Free. (301) 581-5100. strathmore.org. The group also performs at Tropicalia, 2001 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 629-4535. Doors at 8 p.m. tropicaliadc.com.