I’m always a little hesitant when I hear someone rave about their favorite local band. I’m not a complete cynic, but I have been disappointed too many times in the past to just take it on faith that this band or that band will really, truly, absolutely, no-doubt-about-it blow my mind.

But last weekend’s Kan’Nal show at Cervantes’ really did leave an impression. Mind-blowing? Not exactly. But very cool, certainly. The show included several different dance troupes and three bands who all fall loosely into a style of tribal fusion that begs the audience to participate. Think of big, massive percussion, add a groovy bass line, and throw in a couple of jazzy horns, some smooth-flowing spoken word, sexy acoustic guitar work, and dance performers sporting antler horns and fireballs, and it adds up to an intense live show.

I attended the event solo (after my plus-one for the evening came down with the same cold I had recently) so it took a while to get into the groove, strong and pervasive as it was. The first part of the event included dance performances by the Spark Tour troupes, featuring women who teach and perform belly dance and tribal fusion dance – a blending of belly dance, African dance, and modern jazz dance – and they mesmerized the crowd, myself included. Some of those girls can do truly amazing things with their ab muscles. They roll. They flutter. They make sharp little S curves so smoothly it’s like they don’t have spines like the rest of us have; they look like willowy, exotic …Gumby dolls. One troupe, Ultra Gypsy, hails from San Fran, and another, Urban Tribal, is from San Diego, so they don’t make it to Denver stages very often. But Boulder-based Kan’Nal has Akayate, Teresita, and Tyffani, who work their own magic as a fire dancers and costumed creatures who shift during each Kan’Nal song.

Sound interesting? Catch them at Cervantes’ next Saturday, October 29 for the Ultimate Witches’ Ball, with Lunar Fire and Lovlok. And don’t bother with your dancing shoes for this kind of show – bare feet and bare bellies are the right look for these tribal rhythms.