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My Full Review of Reggae On The River 2014

Posted by YabbyYouFan 
My Full Review of Reggae On The River 2014
August 11, 2014 09:12PM
First off, I agree with some of the other posters and want to say this about ROTR: it is a physically demanding festival. It always seems so hot and dusty, plus there can be issues with the shuttle system which can make for a very late night (it wasn't necessarly their fault this year, as a shuttle bus broke down on Saturday night, causing a long wait...not to mention people were able to cut freely in line that night making the wait even longer, but at least on Friday night and Sunday there were no 1+ hour long waits like Saturday) and by the third or forth day (depending on when you arrive) the body feels like it's been through a battle...but the love of reggae keeps me running on adrenaline to make it through.

As for the artists:

Iba MaHr not being able to make it was a bummer, but those things happen

Mega Banton rocked it. The guy is very good on the mic, and the energy in the crowd was fantastic and fun to be a part of.

Fishbone...hmmmm...

Bitty McLean: His set at ROTR was not as good as the one at SNWMF, probably because his set got cut short by the length of time it took Sly And Robbie set up and perform their opening set, and Bitty only played one song (or was it 2? now I can't remember) off his newest, and best, album. He never got to his some of his best songs...oh well, it was still okay to see him again

Michael Rose was Mykal Rose: a solid set and great mix of his classics and some of his newer songs off of his latest release "Crucial World". And like Nomo posted - when Mykal asked toward the end of his set "What's my name?" - I too was looking everywhere for a sign that a poster said he was going to hold up! That would've been funny...

Gentleman was fantastic. Very energetic and played lots of his better songs, including "The Journey", the song I was hoping to hear most from his latest album. Toward the end of his show he went into the crowd and kept singing as he made his way through the crowd.

Marlon Asher was solid. In my personal opinion he has some really good songs he didn't perform, but his vibes and message was great throughout and I enjoyed seeing him live for the first time

Etana was excellent! What I liked about her set is that she didn't talk too much, as some artists tend to do, and she played a lot of her best songs, including my personal favorites of hers "Jah Chariot, "Reggae", and "Roots". I can't wait to see her again at One Love One Heart Festival!

See-I was pretty good. Not familiar with their music, but I enjoyed their set.

Third World played a lot of their classics, and it was a great tribute to Bunny Rugs. Being in the middle of the crowd and singing the opening lines of "96 Degrees in the Shade" with what seemed like everybody in the crowd was a very memorable moment.

Jimmy Cliff...loved his set. Played his classics and a few tracks off his latest release. Very enjoyable and it was so much fun to be surrounded by so many happy people singing along to his songs. I want to point out that I was very happy that Jimmy Cliff mentioned before the song "Upside Down" that it is a cover of a Joe Higgs song. Joe Higgs is so underrated (I think he's the second most underrated reggae artist of all time) and it was nice to hear him get properly credited as the original writer and performer of that song (from the "Family" album)

Meta and the Cornerstones was a very, very good set, right up there with Alpha Blondy and Mutabaruka's set off all the artists that performed. He played lots of his best songs, and it's too bad they ran out of time to play "Mayan River", which is one of their best. Very energetic and entertaining, and I will say this again: they are the most underrated reggae band of all the reggae bands of the last 5-10 years. I really hope they play at SNWMF next year, as like the opening Saturday act on the Valley stage, the same spot that Ragin' Fyah had this year. I also want to point out that I found out from Meta's manager that Meta hadn't been feeling too well that day...and for him to perform at such a high level like he did...WOW, that is amazing!!!

Mutabaruka was very good! Not only is he pure roots reggae, but he blends the seriousness of his words with a mix of wit and humor during the set, making for a very entertaining live show. I was happy that he played my all time favorite song of his "The System", plus some other classics off of the "Check It" album, among many other solid tunes. He was trying to be serious at one point, but the whole thing about his comparing people eating fast food to Stephan King's movie "Pet Cemetary", where "people are walking around with dead animals in their stomach's" got the crowd laughing, despite his repeating that he's being serious! Then came the best moment of ROTR: Mutabaruka paid tribute to the late Lucky Dube with a tribute poem, and right before that, Bob Marley and reggae expert/historian Roger Steffens went up to Mutabaruka and whispered in his ear that ironically, it was Lucky Dube's birthday today and that he would've been 50 years old. Wow, what an ironic coincidence, and what a moving tribute to the late superstar...I feel lucky to have video recorded that whole part of the performance.

Jah9 put on a great show! Her confidence and poise on stage for such a younger looking lady left me impressed. Afterward, I went to the artist booth to meet her, and was very impressed with her openness, friendliness, and intelligence. I enjoyed my conversation with her very much, and when I told her I get a kick out of her song "Avacado", because like the guy she mentions in that song wearing a size 14 shoe, I too wear a size 14, and she laughed so hard when I told her that! A very memorable time talking with her about the reggae revival, and I hope to see her out here on the west coast again soon.

Loved Israel Vibration! I'm all about that era of roots reggae, and the energy they put into their show is always inspiring. I will say this, though: sadly, they appear more and more run down by age and probably past health issues every time I see them, as father time catches up to us all. With that, it's so important to see them any chance one can get, because they represent an era that is golden, but sadly, won't be around for ever...big up to Israel Vibration for still getting out and touring, and putting on the best show they can, and still dancing with their crutches on stage!!!

Alpha Blondy put on the best performance of the 3 times I've seen him live. Very impressive display of energy and perfect song selection in my opinion...he mixed many of his classics with the best of his newer material, and was among the best, if not the best, performer of the entire festival. The energy level of the people dancing all around me said it all: people were all happy and dancing and it was a very memorable way to end the show!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/22/2014 10:33PM by YabbyYouFan.
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 11, 2014 10:24PM
Fantastic review
Thanks for sharing smiling smiley
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 12, 2014 01:09AM
Nice stuff Yabby fan. Glad you liked MutaBaruka- I've seen him a handful of times and he's always been very good.

Interesting Jimmy would openly tribute Joe Higgs. Joe was touring with the Oneness band in the 70's and one writer in New York wrote a review saying how fantastic Jimmy Cliff was and raved about 'those 1st three songs 'especially...well it was common in those days for Joe Higgs to do 2 or 3 songs solo before Jimmy Cliff would come on...so it was determined that the idiot ny writer left after three songs and miss took Joe Higgs for Jimmy Cliff .
..rumor has it that Jimmy got embarrassed by this and Joe quit touring with Jimmy soon there after.....cool though that one legend would testify to the legacy of another-and yes , I agree with you, yabby, if anything deserves to be honored , it is
the greatness of Joe Higgs.

Can't believe its been 18 years since my 1st of 2 straight RoTR's and the incredible performance by Israel Vibration and the Roots Radics in their prime -i might've mentioned this before but it appeared, at one point during 'Greedy Dog', that all three members, Skelly, Wiss , and Apple were hovering ABOVE the stage as they whirled and danced during that song's particularly manic crescendo- unforgettable and 'positively supernatural' according to then Beat scribe Steve Heilig. I'd like to remember I vibes in those days -with Apple, not as they are now -crotchety and sort of depressing-Israel vibes don't need backup singers. ....

Thanks for the review man ..wish I could a been there

But I say... Some Never Even Plant yet want to Reap,
If you run, be careful, try to look before you leap;
Took a little walk from my Vineyard...
Now I'm on my own
Now I'm left alone..
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 12, 2014 02:34AM
So true about 96 degrees!! Such a perfect song for the weekend.. Loved that moment
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 12, 2014 01:04PM
YabbyYouFan, very nice review- I normally get bored reading them but yours was to the point, succinct and said just what I wanted to know. Wanted to be there but not sorry to miss the heat. Was this location anywhere near the fires in Cali? Was there smoke in the air? I saw some with bandanas across their mouth. (in photos)
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 12, 2014 10:30PM
It was not far from the big smoky fire near Laytonville, but the smoke was not thick at the fest, i think the bandannas were to keep dust out. I think the smoke blew more east and south than north. Thankfully.

Love that reggae!
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 12, 2014 11:18PM
smoke was really bad late sat night and sunday morning... Other than that I had a great time
Gentleman was the highlight of the show in my opinion which will be quite a surprise to anyone who knows my musical preferences

Respect Same Way
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 12, 2014 11:40PM
Fishbone was "HILARIOUS"! at first the off key horn thing was agro but they were fun to watch. lead guy needs his own show! smoking smiley

~Highest Heightz Every Time~
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 13, 2014 11:24PM
Quote
BUCKET-HEAD
Fantastic review
Thanks for sharing smiling smiley

You're welcome, and glad you enjoyed reading my long review!
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 13, 2014 11:30PM
Quote
papaken
Nice stuff Yabby fan. Glad you liked MutaBaruka- I've seen him a handful of times and he's always been very good.

Interesting Jimmy would openly tribute Joe Higgs. Joe was touring with the Oneness band in the 70's and one writer in New York wrote a review saying how fantastic Jimmy Cliff was and raved about 'those 1st three songs 'especially...well it was common in those days for Joe Higgs to do 2 or 3 songs solo before Jimmy Cliff would come on...so it was determined that the idiot ny writer left after three songs and miss took Joe Higgs for Jimmy Cliff .
..rumor has it that Jimmy got embarrassed by this and Joe quit touring with Jimmy soon there after.....cool though that one legend would testify to the legacy of another-and yes , I agree with you, yabby, if anything deserves to be honored , it is
the greatness of Joe Higgs.

Can't believe its been 18 years since my 1st of 2 straight RoTR's and the incredible performance by Israel Vibration and the Roots Radics in their prime -i might've mentioned this before but it appeared, at one point during 'Greedy Dog', that all three members, Skelly, Wiss , and Apple were hovering ABOVE the stage as they whirled and danced during that song's particularly manic crescendo- unforgettable and 'positively supernatural' according to then Beat scribe Steve Heilig. I'd like to remember I vibes in those days -with Apple, not as they are now -crotchety and sort of depressing-Israel vibes don't need backup singers. ....

Thanks for the review man ..wish I could a been there

Thanks for sharing that interesting story about Jimmy Cliff and Joe Higgs. I didn't know that happened, and yeah, it was cool that Jimmy mentioned Joe Higgs. BTW, have you heard the song "Dear Mother" off of Jimmy Cliff's If I Follow My Mind album? Joe gets credit for writing that song, and it is one of Jimmy Cliff's best all time songs, yet hardly anybody seems to know about that song or that album...just another reason among many that Joe Higgs is so underrated...

Yeah, that would've been really special to see Israel Vibration back then with all three members...I can only imagine how the crowd would've reacted to Apple singing his great song "Reggae On The River", had he still been with the group and played at this recent ROTR...

Oh, and almost forgot to mention, you are right about Mutabaruka playing with a live band. Second time I've seen him with a live band, and does he ever put on an entertaining show! I really hope he plays at SNWMF 2015...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2014 11:31PM by YabbyYouFan.
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 13, 2014 11:34PM
Quote
iriebarto
So true about 96 degrees!! Such a perfect song for the weekend.. Loved that moment

Yeah, wasn't that a special moment to be amongst all that energy in the crowd and singing with everybody those opening lines of the song? Especially after Third World just did a tribute to Bunny Rugs by mentioning him and that song, and then all of us starting singing in the crowd. Man, that was a special moment to be a part of...
Re: My Full Review of ROTR 2014
August 13, 2014 11:42PM
Quote
Sista Irie
YabbyYouFan, very nice review- I normally get bored reading them but yours was to the point, succinct and said just what I wanted to know. Wanted to be there but not sorry to miss the heat. Was this location anywhere near the fires in Cali? Was there smoke in the air? I saw some with bandanas across their mouth. (in photos)

As another poster mentioned, the festival was somewhat near those fires, but luckily the wind was, for the most part, blowing the smoke the other way. However, there were some times where you could smell the smoke, and it wasn't until I woke up the next morning coughing, and with a sore throat, that I realized that it still was around to some degree.

But all things we considered, I feel lucky it wasn't much worse than it was, because on my way to the festival, driving 101 North, there was a time where the sky was pretty much blocked out by forest fire smoke, and everything had that strange, orange haze color in the air and was eerily dark for being early afternoon. There was also a field with a bunch of fire trucks in it, probably as some sort of makeshift meeting spot for those involved in fighting the fires. So like I said, after seeing that, I actually felt fortunate it wasn't a lot worse at the festival.
Re: My Full Review of Reggae On The River 2014
August 22, 2014 10:34PM
Is there anyway to watch the recordings of the live video that was recorded at Reggae On The River this year? There was a live streaming video, and it has to be somewhere to watch now, right?
Re: My Full Review of Reggae On The River 2014
August 25, 2014 05:33AM
I wanted to chime in and say that the Courtney John Project on Thursday was pretty sick. Real interesting, a complete departure from the sweet voiced tunes by Courtney John alone. There is a video of a tune from them at ROTR on youtube, also Michael Rose and Gaudi. Trippy stuff IMO.
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