Tuesday, January 24th, Cargo Concert Hall, Reno, NV. Reno reggae fans (and the U.S. West in general) were treated to a great night of music when Iration’s “Lost and Found” Winter Tour rode through town, with Jamaican reggae star Protoje opening the show. Actually—first-up was incredible looping multi-instrumentalist, Zach Deputy, who won the crowd with his funky good-time one-man show. Deputy sings, beat-boxes, plays some drums, keys and guitar, all layered with glints of virtuosity, into grooves that got the whole place moving. This tour (only a few dates left!) features a couple of the biggest names in this generation’s reggae. But if you don’t catch these dates, more “Reggae Revival” will be coming you way soon…
Protoje and The Indiggnation lit up the stage with his signature tunes “Hail Rastafari,” “Dread,” “Kingston Be Wise,” “This Is Not A Marijuana Song,” “Criminal,” “Who Knows,” and more. Protoje’s stage presence is unique in the way he infuses the music with his moves. Singularly lanky, Protoje keeps skankin’ through his set, with only short breaks in his movements to emote fully into his lyrics. And of course, it’s his lyrics—and lyrical flow—that elevate Protoje’s instantly identifiable sound.
When the rain pitta pat pon the roof
Herb just a steam pepper pot pon the still
Life is a dream if you got gratitude
Go tell the regime dem can’t stop what we do now…
—Protoje, “Who Knows”
Through the years hearing Iration live, I’ve always appreciated their smooth vocal harmonies and reggae/rock/dub sound, but this time I was immediately impressed by their overall tightness. They are sounding more like a unit now than ever before (not that they were ever loose!). The two Micahs (Pushcell on lead vocals and guitar, and Brown on lead guitar and harmonies) were stitching together perfectly with Cayson Peterson on the keys; and bassie Adam Taylor was locked in-step with drummie Joseph Dickens. Their loving feel-good groove brought some of that Hawaiian (from where Iration members hail) sun right into our cold Reno night, as they rolled out crowd favorites “Wait and See,” “Hotting Up,” the tour’s namesake “Lost and Found,” and of course their huge hit “Time Bomb” (encore—made us wait for it!).
Just as Iration is one of the leading bands in American-born Cali-Roots reggae movement (exemplified by bands like SOJA, Slightly Stooped, The Green, Rebelution); so too does Protoje lead in the Jamaican-born music and cultural movement that is the Reggae Revival (with Chronixx, Jesse Royal, Kabaka Pyramid, Jah9, Raging Fyah being some of the prominent voices therein). Not only is the Reggae Revival a reaction to prove that Jamaican reggae is indeed alive, but it is also a cultural movement and collective, comprised of the artists just listed (and more), as well as writers and poets, artists, dancers and painters. The Revival is a true cultural movement built upon a Rastafarian core of African consciousness, self-knowledge and self-reliance, clean diet and living, ganja blazing, and an always sharp focus on Babylon’s destructive influence, in high and low places—all the stuff that original reggae is all about! But with a millennial conscience, energy, vitality, vibe and awareness—and the imperative to spread the message wide and far.
The Reggae Revival will be catching fire again later this winter/spring, with a major tour featuring Chronixx. For the Reno date, March 26th @ Cargo Concert Hall, Jah9 and Kelissa will be opening, and DJ Max Glaser from Federation Sound; check for Jesse Royal on the tour’s later dates!