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Contemporary Saharan music artist Mdou Moctar, traveling from Niger, plays guitar for the crowd at The Union on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.

Mdou Moctar puts on electrifying performance for audience

 Mdou Moctar came out with all cylinders firing in an electric performance at The Union Bar and Grill, 18 W. Union St., Tuesday night. In what turned out to be a tight, one hour performance in front of dozens of bar attendees and fans, the band came through with a great showing.

The guitars were loud and exhilarating, the drums were crushing and the vocals took a quieter back seat as Mdou performed throughout the night. Grant Schroeder, a sophomore studying communication media arts, was impressed and sees a bright future ahead for the band.

“I guarantee within the next five years this band could easily start selling out theatres and large venues,” he said. “Watching them live will definitely attract more fans for people who haven’t heard them.”

The band itself saw it as its mission to begin extending its sound to new places.

“We love connecting with new people and sharing the story with new audiences,” Mikey Coltun, who primarily arranged, produced and mixed the band’s last album, said. “We toured a lot of the songs that Mdou had written before we went into the studio.”

The band sounded like four people who had conceived the album in an intimate space with the same amount of input and process from each member. They had incredible chemistry, knew how to complement each other’s improvisations and kept the crowd involved. At one point, Mdou commanded the audience to do a call-and-response routine and it was carried out beautifully.

Besides the unremitting energy that the outfit brought during the whole show, sonically it was a fun experience as well. There were a few audio hiccups due to some technical difficulties, but Jack Tecca, a junior studying music production, praised the band’s composure as it dealt with the problem.  

“They had a very good performance despite some live sound issues,” he said. “They kept the ground engaged.” 

Tecca also lauded many moments during the performance but said the ending was particularly magical when Mdou “shredded a solo and then wiped his brow.”

“I enjoyed the guitar licks and extremely groovy instrumental sections,” Tecca said. “It seemed to just take people away somewhere beyond time.”

Moctar and his band kept the volume high, tackling the performance with an uncompromising intensity, while also keeping it listenable for a casual fan. Some guitar passages and solos would go on for minutes at a time but turn into something hypnotic and beautiful rather than tedious.

Reese Clutter, a junior studying music production, came into the concert anticipating greatness and was not disappointed. 

“The performance was insane and I loved every song,” he said. “They far exceeded my expectations and I did not expect them to be able to play that well for that long.”

If this latest performance at Ohio University is any indication, Mdou Moctar will be electrifying audiences with its tunes and stellar performances for years to come.


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