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Gig Alert: Melvin Van Peebles with Laxative

Melvin Van Peebles with Laxative
“Play It As It Lays”
Playing Thursday at Zebulon
(258 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg)
Get: Tickets (Free) | Directions

Filmmaker, songwriter, playwright, and novelist Melvin Van Peebles is, simply put, one of the most important and enigmatic African-American artists of all time. Peebles is best known as the visionary behind "Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song," the 1971 proto-blaxplotation flick hailed by the Black Panthers for its "Damn The Man" message. But Peebles has also made some of the funkiest music ever stamped on wax, beginning with Brer Soul in 1968, recently re-issued for the first time by Cherry Red in the UK. Now at the tender age of 78, Peebles has started a new band called Laxative with some of the post-funk improv explorers that make up the Burnt Sugar Arkestra. “Play It As It Lays,” which has never been released, is a raucous blues-inflected tune that showcases both Peebles' soulful side as well as his experimental tendencies. Why call the band Laxative? In Peebles' own words, "They're a crew of of musicians that make @#$% happen."