Words by Brad Metzher Photos by Parker Bartlett
July 8, 2017 - I have had quite a busy festival season so far this summer, with Cali Roots in Monterey and The One Love Festival in Long Beach, but looking back over the countless amazing performances from artists new and old, The Wailers’ July 8th performance at the Pacific Amphitheater truly stands out. This group of seasoned reggae veterans, most with familial and or mentor relationships to Bob Marley and the founding Wailers members, manages to pay perfect tribute to Bob Marley and The Wailers songs that are expected by fans, but they also take many of those songs to another level, such as the unique extended dub version of “Lively Up Yourself” featuring Aston Barrett Jr. on drums and Owen “Dreadie” Reid on bass. This drum and bass duo also shined on “Exodus,” which was a step faster in tempo but still stayed true to the original.
The band managed to strike that ideal balance between delivering on the classics (“Get Up Stand Up,” “One Love,” “Natural Mystic”) while also keeping it interesting by featuring great original Wailers’ songs that I had never heard before. “Walk and Talk” has a nice ska vibe and “Stand Firm” features lead singer Josh David Barrett, a seasoned performer who joined The Wailers in 2014. Nuff Respect to Donald Kinsey on lead guitar and vocals who mesmerized fans with the signature guitar licks he made famous and recorded with Peter Tosh on “Johnny B. Goode,” the original Chuck Berry track that Donald himself encouraged Tosh to record.