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.


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