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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reggae keeps things easy at Bob Marley birthday bash

by June Hudson and Times Photo / The Michigan Times

By June Hudson and Times Staff Writer

On Feb 3, I listened to a couple interesting bands at Churchill’s for the Bob Marley Birthday Bash. The opening band of the evening, The FunDubMentals, started the night off with easy listening reggae/dub music. The band consisted of four people, a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and drummer. The bassist and guitar exchanged turns singing, with the drummer occasionally contributing to smooth, harmonic vocals. Some of the songs they played were Bob Marley covers, while other songs carried a rhythm similar to ska. The more my ears took in the relaxing riffs and rhythmic vocals, the more my mind fell into a trance; if I could have traded my chair for a hammock and my glass for a coconut, I’d honestly have thought I was on a tropical island. To hear their music, check out

The headlining band of the evening, Rootstand, also associated their music with reggae, as well as combining other genres and instruments that distinguish them from any other band I’ve ever heard. This four-man-band had a guitarist, bassist, and drummer, and a banjo player. During the first half of the show, the band played music that seemed to combine a hip hop beat with bluegrass riffs and reggae vocals. It sounds crazy, but they made it work. The songs in the first half of the show seemed to follow the same pattern of bluegrass folk genre. After taking a break, however, the band returned with even more styles up its sleeve; while continuing to play folk music, the band added jazz and funk to the mix with some solo slap bass and blues with the harmonica. The band created a fusion of blue-grass, psychedelic, and reggae that truly made for an interesting performance. After the show, I left that night with two things on my mind; first, I never thought I’d witness a hoedown in downtown Flint; and second, I had an odd case of the munchies. Anyone curious to hear these guys can find them on

June can be reached at juhudson@umflint. edu.

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