Washington has waited in vain for four years to see Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, the most literate and imaginative band in soul. Two-fifths of Dr. Buzzard finally made it last night when singer August Darnell and vibist Andy Hernandez led the 10-member Kid Creole & the Coconuts into the Bayou.
Darnell and Hernandez retained Dr. Buzzard's rich harmonies and catchy dance beat. They also retained Dr. Buzzard's cinematic flair as they dressed Kid Creole's 10 members in jungle fatigues, zoot suits and leopard-skin bikinis. Darnell, Hernandez and vocalist Lori Eastside used this format to sing witty, ironic dialogues. The biggest difference was that Dr. Buzzard's smooth soul swing was replaced by Kid Creole's more eccentric punk-funk feel.
If you ever wondered what the B-52s would sound like with a sharp lyricist and a tight soul band, Kid Creole was it. Darnell reworked his own "There but for the Grace of God Go I" ( a hit for Machine last year) into a complex 10-minute musical comedy.
As energetic as Kid Creole was, Jamaica's Burning Spear seemed in a trance as they glided through a set of reggae chanting. The eight-man band never lost the hypnotic beat, but never built much fire on top of it either.