The Wailers at Washington’s
By Robin Shaffer, Rock ‘N Robins
From the Chinese in Shanghai to the El Molo in Kenya, everyone has heard of Bob Marley. Some think of him as proper mood music for a party. To others he was a teacher, an uplifter; to many he was a prophet and savior. When he died -ostensibly of cancer – on May 11, 1981 his mission continued.
That mission still continues in the works of innumerable people and organizations who aspire to better the world; it continues in the works of his children, the works of his grandchildren, and in the works of many reggae artists throughout the world whom he has inspired. The works and the message came to Fort Collins on Saturday, June 22 at Washington’s in the form of The Wailers, a band which can boast authentic connections to the great uniter himself, Bob Marley.
Bassist Aston “Familyman” Barrett, very involved in Marley’s life and music, joined the Wailers just after Marley’s death. He adds more than authenticity to the stage. His veteran playing both melds and guides the structure that, together with the drums, is the framework of reggae music. The drummer happens to be his son, Aston Jr. Barrett. As everyone who loves reggae knows, this duo is the backbone of any reggae band.
The band that played in Fort Collins included only one of the original members who toured with Bob Marley in those early days, Aston “Family Man” Barrett. But the Wailers brought the vibes and the words and music of the Master of Reggae to us for a night. Josh David Barrett, cousin to aforementioned Aston Barrett, accepted the Lion’s role, taking the mic with a sincerity and livication that underlined his desire to bring the feeling to life, aided also by keyboardist Andres Lopez, and Junior Jazz on guitar. The band also boasts two and support singers, one of whom is the daughter of icon Freddie Mcgregor.
After first opening with a rousing, Rastaman Live Up! and mentioning the 40th anniversary of the album Survival, the band proceeded to play every song on the album. There was also a medley encore.
For so many of us for whom Bob has had driving and motivating impact, this revival fulfills a desire. The desire to feel that vibe again. To be with family and friends and be uplifted united and transported to a place where love and unity and brotherhood can make us think it might be possible to move the needle, to do something about what is happening in and to our country.
For just a few moments, were so entertained and united that we had to, as Bob sometimes urged us, forget our troubles and dance. The Wailers bring an evening of expert playing, positive energy, a touch of hope, a bit of nostalgia, and a great time.