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Afrofunk collective Chopteeth’s 2008 studio record was a fine introduction: Production was crisp, the songs went down smooth, and the jams were virtuosic without being intimidating. You could enjoy “Struggle” without getting all uptight and political about it; during the cover of The Sweet Talks’ “Eyi Su Ngaangaa,” you could appreciate Michael Shereikis’ French hip-hop verse without actually knowing French. Still, for all its manifold highlights, that album came off a little safe, a little—how else to put it?—Starbucks-y. With its latest release, Chopteeth Live, the local group takes a promising step away from funking the suburbs into a more muscular sound whose rather hard-edged instrumentals might not sit right with your grandmother. Best of all, it’s a live CD that maintains the energy of performance without sacrificing 16th notes. So, while certain indie bands ride 6/8 Joburg rhythms to chart spots usually reserved for mainstream hip-hop acts, Chopteeth keeps working the crowd. Don’t spill your coffee.
Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band performs with DJ Texas Fred, the Zydeco Cowboy at 8 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. $15.