Reggae Night Returns To The Hollywood Bowl With The Wailing Souls And Ziggy Marley
LOS ANGELES, CA- KCRW has a longstanding partnership with the LA Phil, and every concert season, tickets to a KCRW World Festival concert are highly coveted. This year, four concerts at the Hollywood Bowl were scheduled for the concert series, with acts like Kamasi Washington, Brittany Howard, and James Blake on the roster. The second installment of this season’s World Festival concert series is a beloved staple: Reggae Night.
There is something innate about reggae music that soothes the soul. Just like putting on some old-school punk music can wind you up if you’re down, reggae music has a way of mellowing you down if you are feeling a bit high-strung. The relaxed, reggae mood was definitely in the air this evening… and with the faint aroma of cannabis wafting through our noses as we made out way to our seats, we mean that quite literally.
As dusk approached, The Wailing Souls took the stage.
The Wailing Souls are a group founded back in the 1960s. Though the line-up has changed over the years, two of the original members (Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald) are still singing their grammy-nominated repertoire. It was a pleasure to see Winston and Lloyd perform, as they truly are the definition of an evergreen act who have been able to continue creating and performing their art over decades despite the changes in culture.
They started their set with ’ “She Pleases Me” followed by “Things and Time.” The ageless lead singers belted out the lyrics dressed in their Jamaican colors of Green (Pipe) and Yellow (Bread). The capacity crowd rhythmically swayed to the music. Mid-set, the band crushed it with a tribute medley to Reggae greats Johnny Nash (Hold Me Tight), U-Ray (Wear You to the Ball), Bob Andy (I’ve Got to Go Back Home), Bunny Wailer (Cool Running), and Toots (5446). Pipe and Bread wrapped up the set with “Don’t Run” and “Shark Attack” and others. The band more than warmed up the crowd for the evening’s highlight, Ziggy Marley.
As the sun set, the stage came alive with amazing colors to greet Ziggy Marley and his band. The oldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, Ziggy has established his own reggae legacy through his solo work and with his band the Melody Makers amassing 8 Grammy Awards to date. Not only that, but his voice, both political and societal, is as strong as his father’s. His album Rebellion Rises (2018) was deemed a masterpiece by critics; heralded as an album that was politically and socially relevant for the times.
With a deep blue stage punctuated by blue and white arches, Ziggy began the set with “Lift Up Our Spirits Raise Our Voice” followed by “Forward to Love.” As the stage, like a chameleon, turned a deep red-orange with a blue background, Ziggy hit us with “Black Cat.”
He performed songs from both his solo repertoire and his repertoire with the Melody Makers (“See Dem Fake Leaders”, “Circle of Peace”, “Tomorrow People”, and “Love Is My Religion”) and even sprinkled in a couple of reggae favorites made familiar by his father, with the songs “Stir It Up” and “Is This Love.”
Ziggy was lively on the stage, dancing and moving with the music, and the energy was infectious as the audience sang and danced along with him, clapping or swaying to the beat of his music. Ziggy started the show wearing a jacket that fell below his waist, but that would soon be shed with all of the joyful energy from the performance.
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