Concert Review: Kofi Baker’s Cream Faith @ Empire Underground 05/26/2023

You may be familiar with the term “nepobaby.” It is somewhat disparagingly aimed at those artists, actors and musicians who have the distinct advantage of having famous parents, particularly those in the same line of work. Does having a famous name open doors that would otherwise be shut, or at least supply the key?

Well, in the world of autotune, suspicious backing tracks, and the endless retakes possible in the movie industry, a lack of talent may be covered up.

But not with drumming. In the white-hot glare of live performance, you can cut it or you can’t.

The list of drummers with famous parentage is actually quite impressive. There’s Ringo’s son, Zak Starkey, good enough to hold down the drum stool in the touring lineup of a little band called The Who. How about Jay Weinberg? Not only has he subbed for his dad, the mighty Max, in the E Street band, but he is also currently behind the mask with Slipknot. Guitarist Steve Howe’s son Dylan has not only served time with his prog-father but laid down the beat for The Blockheads and The Wilco Johnson Band. And, of course, there’s Jason Bonham, who led his own fine self-titled band before helping out his father John’s illustrious former bandmates in a one-off Led Zeppelin reunion in 2007.

You can add Kofi Baker to that list.

Baker is the son of the late Ginger Baker, a force of nature who came to fame in the sixties with “the supergroup” Cream (with Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton), then with another “supergroup,” Blind Faith (retaining  Clapton and adding Steve Winwood), and then went on to form his own bands, Airforce and The Baker—Gurvitz Army. Following that, he essentially became a gun for hire, playing with a wide-ranging array of acts, from Hawkwind to Public Image Ltd.

Baker was primarily known for two things; his thunderous playing and a personality that was, well, difficult.

Happily, Baker, the younger, seems to have inherited the former and not the latter. Kofi brought his three-piece band to the Empire Underground Friday night with a set devoted to the music of those two supergroups, hence the somewhat clunky moniker.


Based on his between-songs banter, Kofi is affable and personable, regaling the crowd with amusing stories about his dad and growing up in the drug-fueled madness that was his scene. He really should write a book. He is also a dynamic and powerful drummer. His solo in “Do What You Like” at the end of the evening did break my “five-minute rule” for such undertakings but was still mightily impressive. As were his bandmates Bobby Messano on guitar and Kris Lohn on bass. Messano handled the bulk of the vocals adequately, and Baker himself performed the charmingly psychedelic recitation of “Pressed Rat and Warthog” just as his father did 55 (yikes!) years ago.

A storming version of “Sunshine of Your Love” segued with Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” was the encore, leaving the small crowd happily content with an evening of timeless rock and roll, expertly played.

Set List:

  • I’m So Glad
  • Politician
  • Sweet Wine
  • Crossroads
  • Pressed Rat and Warthog
  • Had to Cry Today
  • In the Presence of the Lord
  • White Room
  • Can’t Find My Way Home
  • SWLABR (She Walks Like A Bearded Rainbow – now you know!)
  • Do What You Like (incorporating Drum solo)


  • Sunshine of Your Love / Manic Depression

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