Spring concert in review

April 13, 2007

So it was my first real rap experience. Id been to and hosted freestyle competitions in high school in Chicagoland, but rap as a genre isnt really my thing. So watching Naughty by Nature yell into their mikes for an hour wasnt exactly my cup of tea. The rest of Brandeis and the many high school-aged visitors tried really hard to get into the music, and even succeeded somewhere towards the middle of the set, but altogether the group was not really working with the crowd;

the group eventually disappeared from the stage. Vinnie and Treach, the two frontmen were interesting to watch Vinnie bouncing around, trying to enthuse, and Treach variously removing clothing and performing somewhat gymnastic feats. Treach has apparently starred in Oz, AND married (and divorced) Pepa of Salt-n-Pepa. Both Vinnie and Treach have also managed to get arrested for illegal weapons possession in Harlem, a fact trumpeted on their website. The group rejoined with its DJ Kay Gee in May 2006 and an album is rumored to be on the horizon.

Leaping several genres towards ska/punk, Reel Big Fish attracted a comparatively huge crowd, filling about two-thirds of the gym with fans. A lot of people seemed to know the lyrics to the songs, and most people with whom I spoke seemed to have seen the band previously. RBF has been together since 1996;

the band has featured some 19 different musicians in various capacities. The two mainstays, Aaron Barrett and Dan Regan have been with the band since they were teenagers and have made a career of touring. The rest have changed fairly frequently;

the newest member is drummer Ryland The Rabbit Steen, age 27. The band did play its most successful song, Sell Out, which I recognized from high school dances;

the Brandeis dance bob was prevalent. The groups high energy level transferred into the crowd, who happily stood around waiting for The Wailers for almost a half-hour.

The Wailers closed the show, playing the expected classical reggae hits as well as a few other songs that seemed similar but werent. The music was inherently danceable, and everyone at the concert at that point really seemed to get into it. The crowd was perhaps less than that there for RBF, but they seemed the most enthusiastic. The Wailers are an odd amalgamation without 60s front man Bob Marley, as he was an essential part of the group. They are still, of course, surrounded by their roots as many of the original members are still playing with the band;

Family Man, Al Anderson and Earl Wya Lindo were all close to Marley and the origins of the reggae movement in America.

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