Jamaican Me Crazy (For Reggae)

Photo by The Wailers | @the.wailers
Photo by The Wailers | @the.wailers

Summertime goes hand-in-hand with good music and even better vibes. Valley got tickets to see The Wailers, or what used to be known as Bob Marley and The Wailers, in Greenville, South Carolina. A crowd of all ages gathered at the TD Stage on the Reedy River to see the band perform and it was an eye-opening experience.

The lawn was filled with people who danced to the beat, reliving the songs of the 70s. The night was filled with classics such as “I Shot the Sherriff” and “Get Up, Stand Up,” but the band brought a new energy to the music.

The outdoor venue, presented by the Peace Center, drew many music lovers to the end of downtown that night even if they did not buy a ticket. Behind the stage and across the river, people brought out blankets to enjoy the performance as the sun set.

According to their website, The Wailers originated in the 1960s and brought reggae beyond the boarders of Jamaica while sharing the stage with the legendary Bob Marley. His early death broke apart the band until the recent Wailers Reunited project began. Although the group touring is not all original members, some of the musicians seen on stage are relatives of those who performed alongside Bob Marley. Aston “Familyman” Barrett co-founded the group and now his son, Aston Barrett Jr., plays drums for the band.

The most recognizable feature of the band is the hairstyle worn by most members: dreads. Josh Barrett, the lead singer, let his hair swing with his dancing, in an almost hypnotic way, adding to the vibes of the concert. Later, he paused the concert for a moment to say that reggae is here to correct the injustice in the world and that we gather to support protest music in the hopes that one day it won’t be needed.

The feeling generated by the songs could be described as unifying. The message of reggae is that of peaceful resistance. The Wailers gave an authentic performance for a cause that spans decades.

Standing beside the lead singer were two female vocalists that added a chorus affect to the lyrics. In contrast to the electronic music on the radio today, the show was full of slower beats and drawn out vocals. The instrumental performance was not to be overlooked as the musicians showcased the sounds of reggae.

As a living part of history, The Wailers continue to impress with the traditional music of Jamaica. The live performance celebrates the memory of Bob Marley in a way that your iPod just can’t.