If you are an avid reggae music fan in South Florida and you were in the Fort Lauderdale area on December 29th, 2012, you were in for a real treat at Revolution Live. People gathered by the hundreds waiting in line for the stellar line up of musicians that night; Rootz Underground, Inner Circle and SOJA. Even though it wasn't exactly New Years Eve, for some reason, a patron felt as if they were invited to a super exclusive party and it was just obvious that it was going to be a blast. The concert started at 9pm and everyone was eagerly awaiting the night's performances.
Rootz Underground opened the show and instantaneously the party had begun. From the very beginning of the show, it is quite evident why lead singer Stephen Newland's moniker is "Lightning" there is no denying the energy he emulates during performances, which was proven to be quite contagious during their set. In songs like "Hammer" and "Corners Of My Mind" he glided across the stage, popping and locking his arms like a breakdancer with every drum beat. It was clear that a surge of energy had hit the band while playing "Time is An Illusion" and "Farming" all of a sudden it was like there was an invisible trampoline right underneath the feet of Steven as he sang, and he began to jump. For a second it seemed as if he had jumped quite a few feet in the air and he jumped higher and higher with the grooves of the tunes which had the entire mass of 1300 strong transfixed and everyone broke out in a frenzy screaming with encouragement. At this point, we were all privy to some new tracks "Word Smith" which was performed by Paul Smith (keyboards) is a dub inspired song that had everyone in the crowd ad-libbing and jamming along. "Fret Not Thyself" brings a positive message about being yourself and not letting anything stand in the way of your dreams with a wonderful melodic chord on the guitar played by Charles Lazarus that is guaranteed to stick in your head. The mystical vocals of "Return Of The Righteous" had everyone listening keenly to every lyric. Victims of the System closed the set well leaving everyone with an energetic vibration ready for the "Bad Boys Of Reggae", up next.
The Bad Boys of Reggae stormed the stage with vigor and enthusiasm. Lead singer Celo Dixon accompanied by Da Professor began the set with the tunes that made them famous. Roger Lewis on guitar, Bernard 'Touter' Harvey, on keyboards, Lancelot Hall on drums and Ian Lewis on bass created the signature sound of the group.
Inner circle had everyone swaying to tunes like "Smoke Gets In My Eyes" "Young, Wild And Free" and "Mary Collie Weed". A quick cover of Chaka Demus and Pliers "Murder She Wrote" and Bob Marley's "Crazy Baldheads" put everyone in a jovial mood shouting out every word back to the band. Rapper Bizerk contributed a new twist to the bands performance, showing off his skills with his lyrical chanting, adding a little hip hop flava. As the band started to play "Sweat (A la la la la long)" lead singer, Celo Dixon brought a young lady from the front row up on stage and as the lyrics "Girl, I wanna make you sweat, sweat til you can't sweat no more" were sung, Celo and the young lady gyrated on each other which certainly had the masses hooting and hollering for more. The infamous song "Bad boys bad boys, what you gonna do?!" Inner Circle really showed the fans what they were capable of and still, after many years together, and many performances, they remain true to their name "The Bad Boys of Reggae!"
"SOJA! SOJA! SOJA! SOJA!" The crowd was chanting as it was close to midnight and finally the headliners took the stage. It is not unbelievable to see why this band has 20 + million views on Youtube. As they took the stage, and sang "I Don't Wanna Wait" the adoration was instant as everyone seemed to be reciting every single word. Camera phones came out as "Decide Your Gone" a ska - esque tune had everyone skanking to the contagious rhythm
At this point Jacob Hemphill, Soja's Lead singer announced that it was the percussionist Kenneth Brownell's birthday and immediately there was a chorus of "Happy Birthday" and lots of encouragement from the masses. "Mentality" and "Rasta Courage" showed how versatile Soja is and that their belief in consciousness is prevalent. They played favourites like "You and Me" and "Sorry" to name a few, alongside new tracks like "Strength to Survive" "Everything Changes" "When We Were Younger" and "Not Done Yet" from their new album "Strength To Survive" which came out on December 31, 2012 and left everybody thoroughly satisfied. To show how much Soja appreciates the fans of South Florida they even came out for a two song encore.
All in all this was an amazing concert that made the concert goers aware of the consciouness and righteousness and the power of the positive message and we are definitely looking forward to seeing these powerful bands in 2013!
Article by Sarah Soutar & Gail Zucker
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