Music has never been judged by how intricate the note patterns are or how difficult a riff is to play. If that were true Steve Vai would be considered the greatest musician ever and Joey Ramone might have needed to spend some time in the job center looking for a new career. Not to say talent isn’t appreciated, but people relate to music in many ways other than awe of composition.
Roots reggae music since its birth has captured the simple message to spread peace while managing to simplify the most complex of human emotions; Love. Lake Tahoe’s Reggae Festival found a way to exemplify peace and love and break hiatus from the trials of life.
Starting off the highlight reel would be J Boog. Born in the famously rough city of Compton, CA, no one can appreciate the importance of slowing down to figuratively smell the roses as much as J. Finding ways to separate himself from the difficulties of growing up on tough streets, he began to learn music in a way he knew would bring happiness; and happiness is what he brought at the amphitheatre in South Lake. Starting the show with a bang, the band came out jamming and J Boog began to magically spread energy through the previously docile crowd. From the families on blankets in the back, to weirdos I see regularly at electronic shows, and of course hippies dispersed everywhere, everyone was carrying a smile. With a perfect balance of dub and roots reggae, J Boog’s Hawaiian influenced sound proved itself to be quite impressive.
Next up was creative sounds of the growingly popular New Zealanders of Katchafire. This band would seemingly become the blue ribbon group as far as I, and the growingly excited crowd were concerned. From the harmonies of the vocalists to the melodically trancing feel of the guitar work, Katchafire quickly snached up the spirits of the already blissful audience. The one time Bob Marley tribute band has done the reggae legend justice by competently continuing to build around what the Wailers were so successful in creating while finding a sound that is truly unique as well. A band that were previously unheard by myself became an act that is definitely a must see while in the area within a couple short hours.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t as impressed with the headliners of the festival. Pepper was up next, and for me was by far the most sought after before arriving at the festival. This three piece are very respectable musicians and songwriters, however, on this night seemed more intent on telling the crowd how fucked up they were going to get while flexing their muscles than they were on actually playing music. They definitely had the fans attention for the beginning of their set, but people began losing their patience and began slowly moving towards the exits after noticing the lack of flow within the set. The songs they played were fun to dance to, but within a set that lasted two hours there was maybe an hour and fifteen minutes worth of music.
Although there was disappointment in the conclusion, this miniature festival was a success. It is nice to take a break within not only everyday life, but to take a break from everyday party. With so much growing popularity in dance music it nice to sit back on the lawn and relax for a change. Reggae music will always play an import part in the progression of music, but will always carry the message of happiness that this genre’s fans have learned not to live without.