John Brown’s Body and Easy Star All-Stars
April 19, 2014
As i’ve mentioned way too many times, having the responsibilities of essentially two-full time jobs can create conflicting and complicated demands for my time and attention but that’s often the life of constant hustling. So back in April, i had a busy week and a half or so in which I was at Brooklyn Bowl for 5 different shows – and that shouldn’t be terribly surprising for someone who loves live music as much as I do. Naturally, this week and a half or so period included catching a night of dub that featured John Brown’s Body and Easy Stars All Stars, who were performing a live set of one of their most popular albums, Dub Side of the Moon, a reggae tribute to Pink Floyd’s beloved Dark Side of the Moon.
From talking to a few early comers, my sense was that the majority of the crowd was there for John Brown’s Body, who surprisingly had a much bigger and younger crowd. (And younger, i mean in the sense that they were largely unfamiliar with the Easy Star crowd and their seminal album; that wouldn’t have been necessarily their fault, because from what I could gather some of the crowd was at their youngest their early 20s.) But interestingly enough, although both bands have long been committed to dub and to reggae, they play from it from a completely different perspective: to my ears, John Brown’s Body has a sound that felt perfectly suited for the college set, who may just be getting into reggae beyond someone like Bob Marley, but haven’t been made familiar with Peter Tosh. Eddy Grant or a ton of others. In fact, their sound was much more pop orientated – and that’s not a bad thing, especially if it gets people into a genre that truly transcends borders and cultures with peaceful messages.
However, the Easy Star All Stars manage to mesh both a pop sensibility with traditional dub in a way that not only reflects their love of music but shows their talent. And although it’s not a stretch, their reggae rendition of Dark Side of the Moon is genius for the fact that the band leaves their unique stamp on material that’s been so beloved for generations, while retaining the original’s spirit. But along with that, they played songs from their reggae rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, along with other material. However, it was the Dub Side material that won over the night, as it should have.
Check out some photos from the night below:
John Brown’s Body
Easy Star All Stars
For these photos and more check out the Flickr set here: