Relix Presents: UB40 Legends Ali, Astro & Mickey with special guests Matisyahu and Raging Fyah
Matisyahu, Raging Fyah
Fri, July 21, 2017
Doors: 4:30 pm / Show: 6:00 pm
Levitt Pavilion Denver
RSVD & GA: $25, $40, $55, & $75
This event is all ages
To RSVP to the official Facebook event, click here.
Tickets are also available at Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 800-745-3000.
Reserved Seating: $40, $55 & $75
General Admission Lawn Seating: $25 regular price
All ticket prices increase $5 day of show
Levitt Pavilion Denver is located in Ruby Hill Park.http://www.emporiumpresents.com/event/1424550/
Having reiterated their credentials as consummate live performers with triumphant gigs this year in places as far flung as Nigeria, South Africa and Papua New Guinea, Ali, Mickey and Astro are now turning their attention to the studio and a new album, Silhouette, that is an inspired mix of freshly-minted new songs and sparkling, reggaefied cover versions of classics by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Chi-Lites and others.
Silhouette, recorded in London's legendary RAK Studios, plays unashamedly to the trio's strengths. Ali's voice, described by Astro as being 'like a fine wine' (red, presumably), remains as strong as ever - rich, melodic and instantly recognisable. With the redoubtable Astro lending strong vocal support and Mickey's keyboards to the fore in a new band that includes a three-piece horn section, their lithe but potent sound should delight fans old and new.
"Going into the studio with Ali again took me back in time," says Astro. "We hadn't recorded together for years. But, once he started singing, the years just rolled away. And, whenever I had my own ideas for a vocal part, I was encouraged to go for it. There was never any hassle, as we're all having such a blast."
"Silhouette is like a continuation of the solo albums Ali has made since leaving the old band," adds Mickey. "Musically, he's been really consistent. Ali's genius is the way he can work a set of lyrics around a great melody. Any song he sings could easily be a UB40 tune."
Among the album's highlights is the title track and first single Silhouette. A 1957 hit for the American doo-wop group The Rays, though the yearning take that appears on the album owes more to an early 1970s version by the crown prince of reggae, the late Dennis Brown. "It's a cracking tune and the reaction when we play it live is phenomenal," says Astro, who adds vocals to the track. "We've always mixed covers and originals. On the first UB40 album, Signing Off, we had one song by Randy Newman (I Think It's Going To Rain Today) and another made famous by Billie Holiday (Strange Fruit)."
Silhouette also includes an upbeat reggae interpretation of Any Time At All (from The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night album), a cover of Bob Dylan's enigmatic 1966 single I Want You (a number Ali remembers from his childhood) and an inspired take on The Chi-Lites' Yes I'm Ready (a song originally on the B-side of the soul standard Have You Seen Her). Says Ali: "Have You Seen Her was a song that meant a lot to me in the 1970s. I used to listen to the seven-inch single on my Dansette record player in the dark. And, in Yes I'm Ready, there was also a great track on the flipside – a song that nobody has really heard of."
Two other covers that may be less familiar are Sha-La-La, once a harmony hit for The Pioneers, and Jamaican singer Ernie Smith's Ride On Sammy, a cautionary tale that warns a philandering rude boy to change his ways. There is also the lilting lovers rock of Missing You. It was written by Lionel Richie as a tribute to his departed friend Marvin Gaye, it was a hit for Diana Ross, though Ali is covering the Lee Roy Gibbons version. "Lee Roy misinterpreted it as a love song," he says. "He assumed that Lionel Richie wrote it about a woman he was missing, but it was actually inspired by his memories of Marvin."
Amid such originals as the self-explanatory Reggae Music and Cyber Bully Boys, the album contains the poignant Tomorrow On My Shoulder, a previously unpublished track written by Ali's father, Scottish folk singer Ian Campbell. "It's a song about parenthood," says Ali. "My dad gave it to me when I had my first son."
As original members of UB40, Ali, Mickey and Astro helped to define reggae music for a generation. The multi-racial band, formed in 1979 in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley, pooled a diverse set of influences to put a fresh, indigenous slant on Jamaican reggae. After encouragement from Chrissie Hynde, who offered them support slots with her chart-topping band The Pretenders, they recorded their independently released debut album, Signing Off, on an eight-track tape machine in the home of producer Bob Lamb. An unexpected number two album, it gave them the conviction to chart their own course.
"Chrissie Hynde discovered us," recalls Ali. "We'd only done a dozen gigs when she saw us at the Rock Garden in London. She was top of the charts at that time, but she took us on tour. We were on the road with The Pretenders when our first single, Food For Thought and King, reached number four in the charts."
"We owed a lot to the late 1970s ska movement, too," adds Mickey. "We shirt-tailed the ska movement but we also stood apart from the 2-tone acts: their thing was a mix of punk and ska and ours was a new homegrown strand of reggae."
UB40 went on to dominate charts around the world, not least with the hugely successful Labour Of Love series. The first Labour Of Love album, in 1983, yielded a cover of Neil Diamond's Red Red Wine that topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The band secured two further chart-topping singles at home in (I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You (also another US number one) and I Got You Babe, a duet between Ali and the band's old friend Chrissie Hynde, and Ali and Robin Campbell also scored a No.1 with Baby Come Back.
When Ali Campbell departed in 2008 after 29 years and a dozen major world tours with the band, he was followed out of UB40 by Mickey Virtue. Campbell, with Mickey lending a helping hand, has since released two solo albums. Astro remained with the band until November 2013, when he left to team up again with Ali and Mickey. Now, following some spectacular gigs at home and abroad, the trio are facing the future with renewed confidence and vigour.
"When we play live now, it feels like a real group," says Ali. "The musicians in our band have all played with other reggae acts, so they love what we're doing. And the fact that Astro is back with us after six years speaks volumes about the music we are making."
"For me, it's all about promoting reggae. At the end of the day, the fans don't care about what goes on behind the scenes. They only care about the music, and I'm sure they are going to love this record."
When Matisyahu first started touring to packed clubs more than eleven years ago, it was prior to the release of Live at Stubbs, the now Gold record, and prior to that record's single "King Without A Crown" reaching #1 on the alternative rock radio charts. His performances were a raw expression of his spirituality at that time and were supported by musicians who played a foundation of roots reggae augmented by the energy of a rock trio. Fans latched on quickly for a variety of reasons, but in August of 2005, just months after the release of Live at Stubbs, Matisyahu found himself on stage at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival with the de facto leader of improvisational rock-n-roll; Phish's front man Trey Anastasio.
"King without a Crown" climbed the charts and Matisyahu's follow up record Youth was nominated for a Grammy, but the blessings and curses of mainstream success each took root. While Matisyahu's bands have always been comprised of serious multidimensional players who have artfully molded the foundations of roots reggae into many genres, that early; if only a brief display of complete surrender to the music, seemed in some way to take a back seat. Through his lyrics however, Matisyahu developed a more personal, artistic, and sophisticated way to express the yearning for deep spiritual meaning, and as his own beliefs opened up to find more variety and depth, the desire for his performances to match the unpredictable flow of life developed as well.
Now, more than a decade and 9 records later, Matisyahu has formed a band that truly gives itself over to the music on par with his lyrical desire to connect to something beyond the self. The band features original Stubbs guitarist and longtime staple of the downtown New York improv scene Aaron Dugan, Dub Trio bassist and long-time Matisyahu collaborator Stu Brooks, Joe Tomino drummer of the dub trio and drummer for Matisyahu since 2009, and Virtuoso keyboardist Big Yuki.
Release The Bound officially released on November 18, 2016 via Thirty Tigers. For more information, please visit: http://matisyahuworld.com.
One of few self contained groups (as opposed an artist's backing band) within contemporary Jamaican music, Raging Fyah is now poised for a significant impact upon America's vast reggae landscape (dominated by homegrown bands) with the Spring 2016 release of Everlasting, their debut album for VP Records' Dub Rockers imprint. Recorded live at Kingston's legendary Tuff Gong Studios producer Llamar "Riff Raff" Brown (whose credits include Stephen and Damian Marley, Richie Spice, T.O.K and 2016 Grammy Award winners Morgan Heritage) incorporates broad based influences, various acoustic subtleties, and a few guest artists, all of which enhances as well as expands Raging Fyah's established reggae identity.
"Working on this album was very exciting but challenging; we wanted to stay within the context of who Raging Fyah is, but we never want to box ourselves in either," explains the band's bassist/backing vocalist Delroy "Pele" Hamilton. "Being free spirited as musicians, we spend many hours jamming all kinds of music when we rehearse so we said why not use some of what we feel naturally on our record?"
The title Everlasting was chosen to convey the durability of Raging Fyah's music and the long term effect collaborating with Riff Raff has had on the band. "We had the choice to work with any producer we wanted, locally or internationally and we chose Llamar," says Raging Fyah's keyboardist/backing vocalist Demar "Keysie" Gayle. "We have learned so much from him; the way he helped to shape our sound is an everlasting lesson."
The set opens with Everlasting's title track, its hypnotic dub effects and majestic brass summoning the eternal strength of Jah love while heralding the extraordinary musical experience presented on the album's 13 tracks. From the carefree, easy skanking vibe of "Happiness" to the unshakable spirit of resiliency on the roots rocking "Try Again"; from the melodious crusade for "Justice" to the lush harmonies and gentle soulfulness of the "Ready For Love", Raging Fyah's varied experiences and broadening perspectives in recent years contributes to the sonic sophistication that characterizes Everlasting. The band has performed in such far-flung locales as Siberia, Russia and the South Pacific island of New Caledonia; they've developed a significant fan base throughout Europe where they have toured extensively and they are now gearing up for their first U.S. tour, supporting American reggae band Stick Figure on the latter's Set In Stone tour beginning March 10, 2016 in San Diego. "From our last album until now, we have traveled so much, and experienced different scenarios that we felt should be a part of Everlasting," says Pele.
Pele, Demar and Anthony Watson (drums, backing vocals) met while studying music at Kingston's Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, under the tutelage of Ibo Cooper, former keyboardist with Third World. They joined forces with veteran guitarist Courtland "Gizmo" White and formed Inside Out in 2002 before changing their name to Raging Fyah in 2006. The band spent years backing artists at major stage shows in Jamaica; their long held ambition to perform original music became a reality when Kumar Bent signed on as lead singer in 2010. Kumar attended Edna Manley College a few years after his band mates, initially studying piano; at Cooper's insistence he began writing and singing his own songs. Kumar's supple expressive tone persuasively delivers Everlasting's array of personas, including the playful suitor on the album's first single "Dash Wata", the Jamaican roots revolutionary on "RaggaMuffin" and the enlightened soldier in Jah Army on "Getting Dread" Each mood is ideally complemented by the band's finely honed, faultlessly taut grooves.
Unlike their previous albums, Raging Fyah has chosen to collaborate with select guest artists on a few of Everlasting's tracks. Rising roots sing-jay Jesse Royal joins the band in criticizing greedy, uncaring leaders on "Humble"; dancehall star Busy Signal, who was so impressed by the Everlasting recording sessions he is featured on two irresistible tracks, the pop flavored "Would You Love Me", and the lilting "Live Your Life", also featuring Compton, California raised reggae star J Boog, who cites Raging Fyah among his favorite bands.
Raging Fyah collectively writes their songs, many conveying personal meaning while simultaneously addressing wider issues. "Wondering" asks how did we get here, seemingly questioning a relationship gone wrong but the song was penned in Haiti as the band considered the descent of the first independent Black nation into one of poorest countries in the western Hemisphere, despite its plentiful resources. While emphasizing personal accomplishments through small achievements "Get Up" was written to motivate the progress of Africans throughout the Diaspora, notwithstanding the lingering effects of historical atrocities: "locked up in captivity, shipped across the Caribbean sea, so many years of slavery I still don't know my identity", sings Kumar, the purity of his emotionally wrenching vocals framed by Demar's classically influenced piano, a representation of the culture imposed on slaves, prior to the segue into an emancipating reggae rhythm. "We put the classical part in to represent colonialism," Kumar explains, "because the song is about a belief system, the advancement of the Black race, creeping first then walking as a people and taking pride in our history."
Certain to be one of 2016's most celebrated releases, Everlasting signifies a milestone in Raging Fyah's career by raising the bar on their already lofty musical standards. "The challenging lyrics on Everlasting challenged what we were able to do as musicians," says Demar. "Musically, we kept our roots but went way beyond them because there is not just one shape to fyah, it takes on different forms."
Levitt Pavilion Denver
1380 W. Florida Avenue
Denver, CO, 80223