ATX WildFire Day at Ruta Maya started at 2:30p.m. and they partied until 4 in the morning. Within that time more than 10 bands played. Luckily for me, I was there for three. This two day Reggae Fest was a free, all ages event and every band played for one hour sets. It was a guarenteed good time both days.
Denver’s own Tatanka attempted to bring more electronic sounds into the reggae genre. This trio presented an interesting but not so entertaining twist to reggae music. The bassist and drummer were tight and paid very close attention to each other. The lead singer had a much deeper and more solemn voice that often made him harder to hear and understand. One of the great things about reggae music is the creative freedom to do lots of different things with one theme. The bassist was aware of this and took many creative advantages successfully. The digital sounds used religiously, took away from much of the original material.
Austin’s own Ashes of Babylon is an 8 piece group that rocked until the crowd screamed for more. With an 3 piece horn section, 2 guitars, a 6 string bassist and piano, this group brought everything they had to the table and the crowd ate it up. There was no way anyone couldn’t have fallen in love with these guys. The arrangements for the horn section were beautifully written and executed. The lead singer had a strong and exact tone to his voice. They are the traditional raw sound of reggae music. From beginning to end the dance floor was packed. And these guys have fun. They play with the stage and the audience making the performance value much higher. Every song was up beat, fun party music. When a random guy in the crowd started dancing with a hula hoop, I knew that these guys could do no wrong. Their last song, “My Shoe Shine Girl,” put them over the top. They are just this a really tight, really good and creative reggae group.
Houston’s own Idiginis came to the stage and started with the classic reggae song, “I Shot the Sheriff.” As the lead singer grabbed the microphone, the mic stand was knocked down so hard it broke the mic clip. The rest of the performance, the lead singer was all over the stage being more of a distraction. He jumped from one end to the other getting the crowd pumped up. “One Love” is the groups montra accompanied with the index finger and the thumb making the shape of an “L.” “Suspended Animation” was the song that gave them their originality. The song is a mixture of rock and reggae music. And their attempt was more than successful. The intro is done with a rock sound, the verses and chorus are done with the reggae sound and right when the guitarist took his solo, the two genres were brought together. It was the best thing I had heard all night. And the guitarist solo gave the song a perfect balance of rock music. Together they play in sync and their “rock” take on the reggae sound makes them Idiginis. They ended with their original “Untrue Lies.”
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