I haven’t kept notebooks about this, but it seems likely to me that when the Big Takeover celebrates its ten years of bandhood at BSP in Kingston, it will be the first local band to headline the huge back-room theater (usually capped at about 600, as opposed to approximately 200 in the front room, where avant-rock legends Pere Ubu put on a singularly bizarre show last week). Fair is fair and earned is earned. The Big Takeover, a delightful original reggae and rock-steady band in the Desmond Dekker mode with a dash of Motown, has been packing literally all of the local venues – regardless of the clubs’ stylistic biases and parameters – for all ten of those years, stepping up its national touring in the last few.
If I wanted, I could speak to the irony of BSP – the local club founded on an explicit antipathy toward the prevailing styles of Hudson Valley music – hosting the anniversary of a reggae band, but it is a truth widely acknowledged: Warm bodies is warm bodies, and the Big Takeover produces them like few others around here. And also: The Big Takeover are no trustafarian hedonistas, repurposing island grooves for bro bliss. BSP knows this. Jamaican-born singer/songwriter Nee Nee Rushie and bassist/musical director Rob Kissner are very serious about this music, the fine points of its styles and the many complex contexts of its meaning. They deserve the back room for reasons artistic as well as commercial.
The Big Takeover celebrates ten years on Wednesday, November 22 at 7:30 p.m. at BSP, located at 323 Wall Street in Kingston. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door. In a nice booking touch, the Jonny Monster Band will open. The blues/rock phenom Jonny Klenk was the Big Takeover’s original guitarist, before he took his game to Knoxville a number of years ago. For more information, visit www.bspkingston.com.