One band, unsigned, is all the rage down in New York City. Another, put together while its members were all at SUNY-New Paltz, has backed members of the original Wailers: that legendary 1960s Jamaican band that launched much of what we now know as reggae music. The third is from Woodstock and “mad cool,” as my kid likes to describe the indescribably fun. Toss in a host of local deejays and some major-big banners of the man being honored – kept alive, as it were, for posterity – and you get a sense of just why Upstate Reggae’s annual Woodstock Tribute to One Love and Bob Marley is making its 28th outing this Saturday, February 4 at the Bearsville Theater.
The bands on hand this year are a clear demonstration of Marley’s deep influence some 30 years since his passing (he would have been 66 this year). Royal Khaoz, from the City, styles itself as “a reggae fusion band that is both conscious and sassy…We come with class yet leave destruction behind.” The Big Takeover, started five years ago, maintains a brain-jarring schedule, regularly hitting New York and packing sweaty skankers into local venues like Bacchus and Snug Harbor in New Paltz and the Black Swan in Tivoli. Royal Heart Sound, out of Woodstock, has been filling out bills around the country for years now, too. Considering the different styles of reggae on view from the three, stretching from a fusion mix to faster-paced ska and rocksteady to Royal Heart Sound’s “Lover Rock” stylings, one gets a good sense of just how wide a swath Mr. Marley left in his wake.
The 28th annual Woodstock Tribute to Bob Marley kicks off around 8 p.m. at the Bearsville Theatre, located at 291 Tinker Street in Woodstock, west of the village center a few miles. Call (845) 679-4406 or visit www.bearsvilletheater.com for further information.