Written By Yuval Peretz
Saturday, 9pm, Lower East Side, and a small crowd is already lined at the doors of the familiar concert venue; The Bowery Ballroom. Always reggae friendly, The Bowery has a lounge room you walk into once you enter. As soon as we came in we could feel the good vibes. Grabbing drinks at the lounge/bar area is the best start for the night and should cost you around $7 for a beer and $13 for a mixed drink. The selector’s sound was playing through the lounge speakers and it took only a few minutes to get excited and head upstairs to the concert hall.
Rather large, the venue can hold 500-600 people and was almost full during the sound system warm up, which got a huge reaction to some classic tune’s. Up next was Black-Am-I with a 3-song set that got the crowd even more hyped. The great acoustics kept bodies moving in a mixed crowd of young & old, locals & tourists, hipsters & reggae heads of all races.
As soon as Marley’s Flagman took the stage you could notice lighters sparking up joints all around and though it seemed weed-friendly, we’d still recommend being somewhat discrete. The band started playing the riddim for “Confrontation" and at this point the room was packed and people were cheering on, anticipating Damian to take the stage. Coming out like a storm, Jr. Gong lit up the place with his energy. A quick pull-up and mix dropped the “Bun Dem” riddim and the mainstream tune made it official, this show will rock everyone.
Wasting no time, Jr. Gong took us through a journey of old and new songs from “More Justice” to “Affairs of the Heart” to “Disappear”. It seemed too good to keep up and the vibe kept building with every tune preformed. Taking off his father, the charismatic Marley has a keen sense of the crowd and a stage show, and a tribute to Tuff Gong swept the crowd away in a classic medley. Damian has a unique way of giving us all a small feeling of Bob and what it might be like to see him preform.
Bringing out his son to DJ and wow the crowd made a smooth transition from Bob songs into Damian’s remake of “Exodus” and he seemed to hit the “Nail Pon Cross” which was his next tune. Gearing towards the end of the show, a flurry of tracks left the crowd begging for more and gave Marley a huge forward. As if he just touched the stage for the first time, Marley kept the energy going with some classics like “Road to Zion” and finished off with the timeless “Welcome to Jamrock”.
Always the consummate professional, his shows cannot be rivaled. We look forward to the new album that will be dropping this October and can’t wait for the next time he hits the stage in NYC for the Meadows Music & Art Festival.