The Wailers ( 02 Academy, Bournemouth – 29/11/15 ) ★★★★☆

By: editor

This year has marked what would have been Bob Marley’s 70th birthday, and 34 years after the reggae superstar’s death his music still has the power to move an audience.

The only original member of the band now is bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett, now 68 but still the king of reggae bassline. Wearing a Rastafarian beanie hat, he nowadays plays in the shadows, instead letting a new generation of singers and musicians bring the upbeat hits to life.

Today the band were playing at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth, internally an architecturally stunning venue synonymous with the legendary icon, originally built as the Boscombe Grand Theatre in 1895 and has subsequently been visited by acts such as Pink Floyd, Status Quo, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and David Bowie plus many others.

I’d been unsure what to expect, I’m pleased to report that The Wailers delivered a powerful show, fully loaded with optimistic and enjoyable vintage reggae that satisfied Bournemouth’s soul.

Whether you like reggae or not I wouldn’t have thought anyone leaving this gig could fail but to be impressed, sound quality was brill, view was brill, dancing and atmosphere was electric, and the band played on…..

Singer Dwayne “Danglin” Anglin wasn’t even born when reggae forefather Bob Marley passed away in 1981 but never the less he did him proud. He had the most daunting task, recreating the late singer’s vocal and charisma but there was nothing to worry about. His gravelly, soulful voice led the group well – particularly with his beautiful acoustic version of Redemption Song – and, although he lacked the range boasted by all-time legend Marley, he was backed by female vocalist Cegee Victory, whose vocals were excellent. This tour sees them celebrating Legend, which remains the best-selling reggae album of all-time and has been certified platinum six times, and is the 18th best-selling album in the UK. It’s an album influenced by the sweeter sounds of Satisfy My Soul, Waiting in Vain and Three Little Birds, rather than his more defiant political material. But as a packed crowd sung every song word perfect no one here was complaining.

Poignant references were made to the present injustices and problems in the World today before breaking into Redemption Song and finally Exodus which brought home the meaning and longevity for a lot of Bob’s infamous lyrics. Is it any wonder why he is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time and credited with popularizing reggae music around the World.

Bob Marley’s spirit was felt strongly in the music that his former backing band performed and could be found in the joy expressed by the crowd.

Overall, my personal highlight of the evening, was the performance of “Jammin” and “Exodus”.

 

★★★★☆

 

 

Check out the photos taken on the night, here! – Enjoy!

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