Over the years, the river of reggae music that has flowed through Bend has at times been a rushing torrent, but then sometimes slowed to a mere trickle as it has over the past year. That's the way live music works in a town like this. But when good reggae comes through the city, people definitely pay attention and they should be paying attention to Anthony B's appearance at the Domino Room next Thursday.
Straight out of Jamaica, Anthony B has garnered a reputation as one of the most dynamic live reggae performers currently touring, thanks to his powerfully energetic dancehall vocals that pair nicely with his philosophical lyrics. His latest album, Rastalove, far exceeds what some might expect from its slightly trite title, providing thick layers of political and social messages. The guy knows what he's doing. The 35-year-old has released more than 20 albums during his relatively short career.
It's this positive message that makes Anthony B stand out, which you can see on his latest DVD, Live at Reggae Rising. Cut between sweaty and intensely high-energy live performances from the Reggae Rising festival are scenes of Anthony B, seated behind a mixing board, hooded sweatshirt pulled up over his dreads, talking about the messages behind his songs. He discusses his own Rastafarian beliefs, Jamaican gun violence and his view of reggae music as a whole.
Here was his take on why reggae music, although originating from a small pocket of the world, has such global appeal.
"The impact reggae has had on the world, I think that's been a positive impact. It's like the Olympics, seeing people from all walks of life, different religions, different races coming together nonviolently on an athletic level where people come out and sweat and feel the same vibration. I would embrace reggae as a collective consciousness. In reggae music, there's a song for everything: a sad moment, a happy moment, a simple moment. It's about politics, family and economics and it's also about history," Anthony says in one of the segments.
And that has to be one of the least corny, most effective statements about reggae music. Hell, even if you don't like reggae music, you should be able to agree with that. But what's most impressive is that Anthony B imparts these sorts of messages while also making sure everyone has a chance to dance his or her ass off.
Anthony B, with Zamunda & Delly Ranx
9pm Thursday, January 19. Domino Room, 51 NW Greenwood Ave. $20/advance at bendticket.com, Ranch Records, ticketswest.com, $25/door. All ages.