Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Concert Coverage - Volume 3: Stephen and Damian Marley

Marley Fest passed in Miami in March, but it was essentially repeated Tuesday night at Studio A downtown.

As part of its Secret Show program, presented Stephen Marley and his half-brother Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley in a rousing two-hour performance backed by their six-piece band, two back-up singers, a bearer of the Ethiopian flag, and Stephen’s toddler son brandishing his own diminutive flag.

The set served primarily to promote Stephen’s new album, Mind Control, but also featured several cuts from Damian’s Welcome To Jamrock, in addition to a handful of Bob Marley covers, including “No Woman, No Cry” and “Buffalo Soldier.”

Damian’s energetic raps on “Pimpa’s Paradise,” “All Night” and “Traffic Jam” were the perfect balance to Stephen’s mellow singing, which has an uncanny resemblance to his father’s. Meanwhile, former Lost Boyz frontman Mr. Cheeks jumped on stage for a performance of “Iron Bars” that captivated the small club’s crowd of about 600.

Nothing, though, would compare to the crowd’s deafening response as Damian and Stephen ran through “Welcome To Jamrock,” immediately followed by brother Ziggy Marley joining them onstage to cover their father’s “Could You Be Loved” to close the set.

The encore failed to live up to the set’s previous climax, but it featured Stephen’s hypnotizing percussion playing and singing on “Inna Di Red,” and a show-ending performance of Bob Marley’s “Exodus” blended with Damian’s “Move.”

The Marleys put on a hell of a show, one that lives up to their father’s legendary performances.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Concert Coverage - Volume 2: Bloc Party

It’s not very often when one sees converse-wearing, hoodie-clad indie kids with Tony Montana accents, but that’s the type of crowd Bloc Party draws in South Florida.

The British rockers played to a crowd of about 3,000 at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre Sunday, performing a fair blend of material from their two albums, Silent Alarm and A Weekend In The City.

The material from their debut album, which is more energetic and danceable, translated better in the live environments, with the definite highlights being lead singer Kele Okereke’s crowd visit during “Like Eating Glass,” the melancholy performance of “So Here We Are,” and the collective crowd bounce of “This Modern Love.”

Their current single “I Still Remember” was played very early in the set, while bassist Gordon Moakes played a xylophone for a handful of songs, including “Waiting For The 7.18.”

After a relatively short set of less than an hour, the band left the stage as rain began pouring on the audience, while stagehands quickly assembled a mirror image drum-kit on the drum riser (including the text “YTRAP COLB” on the kick-drum). But after a three song encore, it quickly became apparent that the second drum kit wouldn’t be used for an intricate drum solo or impressive display of backwards-playing. Instead, it was just a victim of Russell Lissack’s projectile guitar at show’s end.

And thus concluded a satisfactory show, but one that failed to truly impress.