The Tuareg guitarist and songwriter Mdou Moctar performed alongside his band at the Georgia Theatre on Monday. Moctar was the opening act for the New York City band, Parquet Courts. His spot on the tour follows the release of his first album in May 2021, “Afrique Victime.”
At the show, the Agadez, Niger-based guitarist played a blend of genres including Tuareg folk, blues and rock music, which elicited a variety of responses from audience members. This ranged from nodding their heads to an all-out mosh pit for some of Moctar’s pieces.
Some attendees didn’t know what to expect from Moctar when he went on stage. Freshman cognitive science major at the University of Georgia Suhan Kacholia was pleasantly surprised with his first impressions of the guitarist.
“I had never heard [of Moctar]. I came in to watch the headliner, but they just blew it out of the water,” Kacholia said. “I love the mix of traditional African music with rock. It was super high energy and creative and I really liked it.”
Originating from West Africa, Moctor has developed a unique sound. UGA sophomore finance major Jake Hartsgrove enjoyed getting to experience a new type of music and found listening to it was refreshing in a southern town like Athens.
“[The music] was super just aesthetically pleasing and he has a crazy new sound and I loved the way he was playing,” Hartsgrove said. “Overall it was definitely a sound I’d like to hear around here more often. I thought they went out there and killed it.”
Other attendees were more familiar with Moctar, the band and his discography. Recent UGA graduate Michael Van Wagenen was excited to see the band in person.
“I work at Kindercore and am a big vinyl guy, so I actually bought their album three or four months ago,” Van Wagenen said. “I’ve just been hooked for the last six months when I first heard.”
Van Wagenen first came across Moctar’s music last year and said he has been “hooked” for the past six months. This led to him researching how Moctar got started in the music industry, which he found very interesting.
“I had never heard of Saharan desert rock before,” Van Wagenen said. “I looked up his history and he created MP3’s on SD cards back in Africa. I think that’s really cool that he was able to make it this far.”
After Moctar and his band’s performance, a few attendees like Van Wagenen felt the headliner Parquet Courts were outdone by Moctar.
“I don’t think that Parquet Courts even touched the performance. They were a lot better,” Van Wagenen said.