What better way to kickoff the 4th of July holiday than with a conscious party hosted by a native Jamaican artist whose entire being oozes freedom?
Ziggy Marley livened up a sold-out house at the Hard Rock in Northfield, Ohio on Monday (July 3) with an eighteen-song set of rhythmic reggae music drawing from all points in his prolific career…and that of his famous father, Bob Marley.
Ziggy and his band—including Telecaster guitar whiz Takeshi Akimoto—greeted the already-enthused crowd with the pulsating grooves of “Personal Revolution,” “True to Myself,” and “Reggae in My Head” before dipping into The Wailers’ classic catalog for the rugged “Top Rankin’” (from 1979’s Survival). Plucking punctuating chords on a gold-finished Paul Reed Smith Mira guitar, 48-year old Ziggy was a picture of youth and health, eyes closed and strumming away like a musical shaman willingly caught between the ebb-and-flow of bass and backbeat.
That Caribbean feel permeated “Moving Forward” (from 2014’s Fly Rasta) and “Weekend’s Long” (from last year’s self-titled Ziggy Marley). But the title track to papa Bob’s 1976 gem Rastaman Vibration was especially transcendent.
Ziggy and friends wound the clock (and cassette tape, metaphorically speaking) back to 1988 for the bright, bubbly “Tomorrow People”—a hit from the eldest Marley son’s Grammy-winning record with his sibling band, The Melody Makers. “Beach in Hawaii” and “Butterflies” kept the mood joyous and light.
Spotlights shone—red, gold, and green—and dreadlocks flailed as Ziggy segued into The Wailers’ mesmeric, organ-marinated “Stir It Up” (from 1973’s Catch a Fire), then followed through with two of his own anthems: “Love Is My Religion” and “We Are the People” (for which Ziggy’s current U.S. tour is named).
The effervescent encore comprised of cuts from Bob Marley’s majestic Exodus—often listed as one of the best albums ever by anyone, and a work which marks its 40th anniversary this year. “One Love,” “Jammin’” and “Exodus” had fans stepping, shaking, and skanking in the aisles.
Ziggy keeps busy when off-road by throwing himself into kids’ music and philanthropy (which centers ‘round schools and education). He’s got his own line of organic products, a signature herb vaporizer, and a holistic cookbook to his credit. Ziggy also keeps a helping hand in his family’s Tuff Gong business.
Ziggy was presented the Ira Gershwin Lifetime Achievement Award at UCLA last spring. Deservedly so, since no one acknowledges the power of Irie quite like Bob’s heir apparent sons and daughters…and Ziggy’s been doing precisely that since his teens.
Happy Independence Day, America…and Jamaica, too (August 2)!