Live: The Wailers (8-12-11)

Live: The Wailers (8-12-11)

Date: Friday Aug 12th, 2011
Line up: The Wailers, Mighty Diamonds, Governor Tiggy, Alika
Location: World Beat Center. San Diego, CA

The Wailers were in San Diego, California on August 12th, one of many stops in the U.S. before heading over to South America to spread the message of love. The Wailers feature Aston “Family Man” Barrett, the man behind the bass for the original Bob Marley and The Wailers. Together with two vocalists, two female backup vocalists, two guitar players, keys, and drums, The Wailers come together and feature music from the Uprising and Exodus albums. It was quite a revelation to see and hear the Wailers perform at the World Beat Center with The Mighty Diamonds, a band from the same era and land. The stop in San Diego certainly stirred up a classic, roots reggae scene.

The night started with Governor T, a self-described modern/contemporary reggae band based out of San Diego whose members are from Jamaica. They addressed the crowd with “I-and-I,” and “Jah Rastarfari” notations, and announced San Diego as a great music scene for reggae. The band provided classic reggae drops with heavy vocals. The most engaging part of their set was when they had a girl of about six years old come on stage to help sing, “Mama Africa,” where when the singer said “Mama,” the girl would help the crowd in saying, “Africa.”

Next was Alika, a female vocalist from Argentina who sang mostly in Spanish to mixed, electronic beats spun from a turntable, and assisted with a laptop. The music was that of Latin and reggae beats- similar to reggaeton style, but, with more distinction of each genre. A good part of the crowd seemed to enjoy it, while others appeared to observe it. In fact, noting the crowd, there was quite a mix of culture, age, and Bob Marley fans. I saw a great deal of people wearing Bob Marley shirts, me included, and one shirt even stated “Bob Marley and The Wailers.” There were both old and young people of all kinds of backgrounds. The hostess, Makeda Dread addressed this issue when explaining the 31st annual celebration of Marcus Garvey and the Rastafarian movement. She especially noted how the indigenous people of the Americas and those of African descent had early relations due to the history and culture which had developed in and around the early Americas, prior to pre-Columbian conquest.

The Mighty Diamonds took to the stage and this was a real treat for the packed crowd. Originating from Jamaica, and playing during the same era as Bob Marley, The Mighty Diamonds are well-known for their hit, “Pass The Kutchie.” Their reggae carries Motown Soul, and rhythm-and-blues tones, and the three vocalists still sound and perform strong. In fact, they looked classic, with one singer sporting heavy dreadlocks, and the others wearing the classic colors of red, gold, green, and black. Songs included “Poor Marcus Garvey,” “When The Right Time Come,” and of course, “Pass The Kouchie.”

Finally, the big man and his band came on stage. It was after 11:30PM, and “Family Man” and his drummer, keyboardist, and two guitarists took to the stage to dub out some notorious reggae beats. It was a great instrumental set which lasted about ten minutes. Then, Koolant, one of three vocalists who told The Pier he joined Wailers last year, came on-stage to sing “Coming In From The Cold.” Joined by two female backup vocalists, and eventually co-singer, Danglin, the Wailers sang such songs as “Exodus,” “Could You Be Loved,” and “One Love.” They covered almost all the songs off the legendary albums from Bob Marley and The Wailers, including, “Work,” “Zion Train,” “Forever Loving Jah,” “Real Situation,” and “Pimper’s Paradise.” The Wailers left the stage a bit early, declaring they were done after about seven songs. The crowd was told to call them back out, so Danglin and a guitarist came back on stage. Danglin addressed the issue of hunger, and told the crowd how they work with a charity called, World Food Programme, which aims to end hunger around the world. Danglin mentioned the Wailers have a shirt available in which 100% of the proceeds go straight to the hunger crisis in Somalia. The guitarist and he then performed, “Redemption Song.” The rest of the Wailers came back out, and they continued to play infamous Bob Marley and The Wailers songs, including, and in no particular order, “Is This Love,” “Jammin,” “Bellyfull,” and “Three Little Birds,” among other songs. The Wailers ended their set the same way they started it in which “Family Man” and the band dubbed out an instrumental set before leaving. The concert was definitely a treat for any Roots, Rock, Reggae fan; especially those whom admire the legacy of notorious, classic reggae artists.

The Pier got a chance to talk with the legendary bass man of The Wailers, as well as Koolant, the singer, who said since his name is a stimulant for air conditioning; he is there to erase the madness. Mr. Barrett aka “Family Man” told The Pier how reggae music is the heartbeat of the people, and the universal language to carry the message of roots, culture, and reality, with no age barriers. He gave thanks to the World Wide Web as a gadget to spread the message faster; especially as knowledge increases. The Pier was grateful to hear his words on the American reggae scene, in which he stated California is the musical capital not only of America, but of the world. He recalled in the 1970s there was talk in the music industry of new concepts, and this included the drum and the bass.

He then noted that the drums of music are the “heartbeat,” while the bass is the “backbone,” and if these two instruments are not right, the music is crippled. When The Pier asked how it was to work with the icon, Bob Marley, “Family Man” said, “When you see me, you see Bob. Bob, my brother, and I, we are partners since 1974.” Koolant then joined to spread wise messages, saying, “We are the Wailers, and we want to spread this music continuously.” When asked what he would tell all fans, he said, “Keep on loving one another and make sure there is no isolation…stop the madness and violence, and keep out of trouble. Learn the Golden Rule.” He ended the interview by singing a portion of “Rat Race,” and saying, “Well, this is Koolant from the Wailers; saying big and up to the world; One Love; Blessed Love.”

– Article by: Liz sandieganliz Pimentel
– Photos by: David Norris

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