Erykah Badu LA release party, and a Sun Ra moment: NUCLEAR WAR

badu.jpgLast night's release party for Erykah Badu's new album at at the El Rey Theater in LA was amazing. The El Rey is a relatively small venue, the place was packed, the sound was rich, and Badu was in spectacular form with an incredible supporting ensemble. Opening turntablists J Rocc, DJ Nobody, and Kutmah spun fine sets, too. At left, one of a number of great shots from the evening by Jewell at Frolab (Flickr slideshow after the jump). The poster Badu is holding was designed by Emek, more of his art for this release here.

One of my favorite moments in the set last night was when Badu turned to her laptop on stage (yep), opened up a Sun Ra track, let it hang in the air for a while, bobbing her head, then led her band and the audience in a live call-and-response cover of that same song. The track was Nuclear War. I've embedded the original above.

"Nuclear War.... Nuclear War... They're talkin' about... Nuclear War... It's a motherfucker, don't you know... If they push that button, yo' ass gotta go...."

Go get the new Badu album, it's full of sweet funky beauty: New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh. More Frolab photos from the release party after the jump.

(Special thanks to Metzger, Morpheus, McGinley, and Victor!)


  1. Sounds like an amazing night! I haven’t kept up with Badu since the early days, but it sounds like a good time to tune back in :)

  2. yup, she’s a badass. everyones trying to “judge” this video of hers because polarization makes the ratings go up.. but whatever.. these are the same people who never visit art galleries because they think it’s “boring”

    one of the best shows i ever saw (sort of) was the summer stage performance she did in central park.. i couldnt get tickets so i sat outside the fence with all the hundreds of other people who didnt get in .. it was truly cosmic – i left the park “changed forever” that night.. haters might not get it.. but this woman is no joke.. a true artist

    ps: i heard yo la tengo do nuclear war once in prospect park.. that rocked too

  3. Unfamiliar with Badu (damn this lack of omniscience), but good on her for introducing Sun Ra to the house…hope it was a Ra-worthy show! (Ann Arbor, early ’70s, stumbled into the Blind Pig….I think it was the Solar-Myth incarnation of the Arkestra. First thought was, “Far out, black Zappa.” No more thoughts after that, just a dim memory of Sun announcing that the doors had been locked, and they wouldn’t open again until “[you] give me your death…give me your death….give me your death…” for like an hour. Pretty sure I held onto my death, but I willingly gave up quite a few brain cells.)

  4. I was introduced to the wonderful world of Sun Ra by Jerry Dammers and his Spatial AKA Orchestra in Brighton earlier this month. Didn’t quite know what hit me so saw them in Basingstoke the week after for another dose. Fantastic stuff. Remember… Space is the Place.

  5. AMAZING show last night. Someone tweeted that it was like going to church, and it was totally true. And I wouldn’t have gone unless I read about it here, so thanks BoingBoing and Xeni!

    The loop reel during the dj sets was pretty insano too. Anyone know what movie did those clips of the bearded naked guy bathing with the hippo come from???? I have to track it down.

  6. In 1997 I opened a jazz record store in Dallas in a spot which was formerly an underground spoken word/poetry/music venue called Reciprocity where Erykah performed frequently before Baduizm came out. Nobody who saw her back then is surprised that she became the force in the neo-soul movement she is today.

    If my handle doesn’t make it completely obvious, I’m a big Sun Ra fan and have been for eons. Any Boinger who hasn’t seen Space is the Place should do so, like, toot sweet, baby.

  7. Am I the only one who scrolled by quickly and thought “do you have change for 10,000,000 people?”

    Ah, the classics.

  8. Thanks for posting our pix! They are by both me (@missfrolab) and Cognito (@frolab).

    @anon#5 – the movie she was playing before the show (in the mix w/ the clips shot by Coodie) was called The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky – (the inspiration of her album cover outfit)

    1. @missfrolab, thank you so much, and congrats again on getting such spectacular shots. you guys are wonderful, and i hope to meet you sometime! love your site and your vibe.

  9. Yo la Tengo has an EP that is just five or six versions of this song, my favorite features a children’s choir.

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