The return of Bob Marley’s fantastic Wailers triumphed at the festival

18 August, 2017

Benicassim, 2017-08-17. Black Roots (Main Stage). Photo by: Edmundo Mercier © Rototom Sunsplash 2017.

Night number six, before the big weekend, saw an escalation of reggae music on stage, until the heartfelt tribute to the music of Bob Marley, that of the Wailers, an iconic band that helped to make reggae immortal during their adventure in the 70’s. The night was seen in by the historic Black Roots from Bristol. After temporarily splitting up, the band reformed in 1979, coming back to stages and they are currently very busy: the eight musicians took up position on stage and we felt the presence of the brass section perfectly. Black Roots are a part of their idea of roots music, which can at the same time be militant and delicate thanks to their beautiful harmonic vocals.

These veterans of the oldschool from the 80’s combined the beautiful songs of their extremely successful album, Son on a man, with classic steppers rhythms from the English tradition. The two singers gave everything and contributed to the immense success of the show that demonstrated that, even though they may not be as famous as Aswad or Steel Pulse, Black Roots are also well worthy of merit. After Black Roots, the rhythm section of Mellow Mood took to the stage to add the weight of live sounds to Hempress Sativa’s show: the young Jamaican singer, who recently released her debut album Unconquerebel.

Benicassim, 2017-08-17. Hempress Sativa (Main Stage). Photo by: Carlo Crippa © Rototom Sunsplash 2017.

In her festival debut, Sativa didn’t seem at all intimidated by the crowd or the importance of the show, and started with strong determination, affirming her Rastafari faith, and took off with her explosive vocal style over the potent rhythms and bass of the trio of Italian musicians. For just one hour, the atmosphere known by the crowds of the Dub Academy moved over to the Main Stage: Sativa was truly elegant and princesslike, alternating between more militant songs and others that made clear her passion for sound system music, possibly listened to on vinyl in the style so appreciated by Jamaican music lovers. The most memorable moment of her performance was surely Boom, a track produced by Paolo Baldini, the sound engineer who at that time was balancing the sounds of the concert and who remained in place when the two Mellow Mood twins jumped on stage.

Benicassim, 2017-08-17. Mellow Mood (Main Stage). Photo by: Luca d’Agostino © Rototom Sunsplash 2017.

The one writing to you now shares the same nationality as the already settled Italian youngsters, so I can’t hide my pride for the great maturity of Lorenzo, Jacob and companions, or for the massive success, thanks to their hard work in recent years. Their energy empowered the public like a whirlwind of positivity and the essence of the music made their charged voice stand out as much as possible. For Inna Jamaica pt.2, the terrible twins again reunited with Hempress Sativa and their friend Forelock, and although they were songs from their latest album, 2 the world, it didn’t stop the song from being very a significant part of their initial repertoire. Dance inna Babylon, also had the mission of leaving the public with the last impression of them being one of the best bands in Europe.

Then came the moment, the natural mystic music of Bob Marley started to spread onto the Main Stage: of the original Wailers, there remains; the legendary bassist Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett, but who seemed visibly affected by health problems, as well as the solo guitarist Junior Murvin. The rest of the members of the band were young musicians, among whom was the son of Familyman, Aston Jr. on the drums. The basslines from the Fender Precision of Familyman was the central axis on which the sound of the band revolved and its playlist recovered the musical magic of the most influential character at this festival, to the final triumph with Could you be loved, which had every single person in the crowd dancing.

Pier Tosi

Benicassim, 2017-08-17. Backstage (Main Stage). Photo by: Carlo Crippa © Rototom Sunsplash 2017.

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24* ROTOTOM SUNSPLASH | 12 – 19 Agosto 2017 Benicàssim – España.
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