(Photo – Sarah Hamilton)
Live Review – Stephen Marley feat. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
April 14, 2007
Commodore, Vancouver BC
Sensitive sensei smokers took heed upon arrival, to a sold out performance from Kingston’s sons of Zion: Stephen and Damian Marley. The sickly scent of sativa barely graced the air as a diverse Vancouver crowd paid homage to the legend. Problem is this a Stephen Marley show. Not Bob’s.
At first, I (and our illustrious jpeg pimp, Sarah), hit the Commodore and were greeted with a: "Sorry you’re not on the list”.
That upgraded to” Ok, one pass no photo” to finally: “Ok – two pass two photo, courtesy of the over- accommodating angel, saint and all around godsend – Kerya (wrong spelling-I’m sure) from The Commodore. Thank you.
Homeland Insecurities had been put to rest.
Once backstage, the vibe/adrenaline started to surge – majors, minors and in-betweens clung to the front of the stage as we proceeded to nestle in our side stage corner for an evening of harmonious musical education.
Kicking off with "Roots Rock Reggae", Stephen Marley had the crowd in his scope and picked off a fair amount in the front row. Pulling tracks from his latest release “Mind Control” the title track, along with “Hey Baby” “Chase Dem” and a rousting version of ‘’The Traffic Jam” were delivered like a bullet, courtesy of a 10 piece band, two backup vocalists and the first appearance of brother Damian.
Jr. Gong’s presence was certainly felt as he took the bull by the horns and gave them a good twist. Three songs later, it happened: “Welcome To Jamrock” surfaced and it was on. So notwithstanding the tedious yelps for “One Love”(must be that effective holiday ad, geared towards incoherent caucasians), we were treated to a few of “Dad’s classics” to calm whitey down ( Jammin’, Could You Be Loved and Buffalo Soldier).
The finale ended with Canadian Hip-Hop virtuoso K’naan bouncing onto the stage to help close the show with an sonorous take on the Bobby classic "Exodus”
While we are on K’Naan – the innovative Somalian/Canadian emcee, had no difficulty in bringing the crowd to a roar. Simply put – the man should be headlining himself. No D.J., just a Mac Book and his band.
The appropriate opener “In The Beginning” was greeted with an anxious response and highlights included the lyrically correct "What’s Hardcore?”. K’naan held the fort down as the groups’ set started drawing K-OS fans from “Atlantis” and within minutes had them doing the "Dusty Foot” .
By the time K’naan reached the show closer – "Soobax”, it felt as if this promising young emcee, had turned this show from a supporting slot to a full – on double bill. Worth the wait.
K’Naan will be supporting The Marley Bros. for another 30 or so dates for this tour. Hopefully, the "Sun Will Be Shining" on K’naan and Canada, again.
By E.S. Day
Copyright © 2004-2007 E.S. Day. All Rights Reserved.