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Taken from JournalStar (September 30, 2010)

Franti set to bring eclectic sound to Rococo

by L. KENT WOLGAMOTT / Lincoln Journal Star

Michael FrantiMichael Franti had a top 40 hit last year with "Say Hey (I Love You)." But he's far from an overnight sensation.

Franti has spent more than two decades making music, beginning in a punk band, then moving to hip-hop before forging an irresistible mix of rock, pop, hip-hop and reggae with his band, Spearhead.

One of the best live bands going, Michael Franti and Spearhead will be at the Rococo Theatre on Wednesday touring behind "The Sound of Sunshine," the bright, poppy, bottle-up-the-summer album released last week.

The bubbly, heartfelt disc is one of the most fun of Franti's career. But it doesn't eschew the social consciousness and positive politics that have pervaded his music since he led The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy in the early '90s.

That band fused the industrial punk of Franti's first band, The Beatnigs, and rap. The Disposable Heroes raved against political injustice, landed an opening slot for U2 on the Zoo TV tour and collaborated with Beat writer William S. Burroughs.

In 1994, Franti dissolved The Disposable Heroes and formed Spearhead, broadening the band's sound to include the eclectic mix that's now his signature.

Recording steadily, Franti and Spearhead have released albums filled with songs that oppose the death penalty and war, warn against mass media monopolization and globalization, and encourage listeners to "Pray for Grace."

An activist who has worked as a community organizer and often appears at benefit shows, Franti has at the same time developed a strong following for Spearhead's acclaimed live shows.

Now, Franti and the band are bringing that show to theaters like the Rococo after having opened arena concerts for John Mayer earlier this year.

"To play music that makes people feel energized and passionate about life in these stressful times is a privilege that I'm grateful to have," Franti said in the news release announcing the tour. "We've been doing a lot of acoustic street performances these days outside the venues we've been playing in, and I look forward to seeing longtime fans again and meeting new ones in every city we play in."

Keep your eyes and ears peeled around 13th and P streets Wednesday afternoon. You might get a bit of a free show from Franti and company. But it won't be anything like what will go on in the Rococo that night.

Reach L. Kent Wolgamott at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KentWolgamott.

If you go

What: Michael Franti and Spearhead

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Rococo Theatre, 140 N. 13th St.

Tickets: $27 advance, $32 day of show; available at http://www.rococotheatre.com/ or etix.com or at the Rococo box office. This is an 18-and-over show.


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