Friday April 18, 2014 – photos and story by Aran Hart
Stephen “Ragga” Marley filled the Trocadero Theatre Friday night with the special sounds blending his namesake’s classics, his own hits, and introducing his latest album Revelation Part 2: Fruit of Life (look for its release later in 2014), gathering fans from all around the Philadelphia and Tri-State areas.
The night opened with Stephen’s son Jo Mersa engaging the audience with a young generation style of conscious lyrics and “ghetto-youths” dancehall. Jo Mersa studio tracks like (Comfortable), cut through clear but his live performance still needs improvement.
Jo Mersa – Comfortable
Dancehall artist Wayne Marshall followed with smooth lover’s rock steady riddims like (Good Love) that moved the crowd, especially those who came with their lover, to feel all right. Marshall can switch up to some bad man tunes (I Know) over dance based sounds so his show mixes both styles his fans have come to expect.
Wayne Marshall – I Know
When the main attraction, Stephen Marley, stepped out in his usual denim attire the crowd crescendoed to greet the reggae superstar with love, which was certainly the theme, and one reciprocated throughout the performance. Standing front and center with his signature lion-art designed guitar, Marley interacted with the crowd with radiant smiles and that ever-so familiar raspy Marley trademark voice, receiving warm responses as his band dropped into recognizable tunes, or announced the newest premiers. Wayne Marshall made a quick cameo appearance, and even reggae stars Capleton & Sizzla jumped out in front of the bright lights to fill the room with excitement performing the album’s new song, that actually dabbles into EDM and dub-step styles, (Rock Stone).
Stephen Marley Ft. Sizzla & Capleton – Rock Stone
The Bob Marley classic Could You Be Loved jammed on as Stephen bid farewell, until next time, to the crowd who cheered him back on stage for a heartfelt encore that concluded with another new premier of the beautiful acoustic ballad (Celebration)- featuring Jo Mersa. The chorus sings: Cuz tonight / We ‘gon have a celebration of our life/ Party from night / ‘Til morning light / We all have a good time / Good vibrations.
Revelation Part 2 features a neo-soulful and hip-hop intertwined track with Philly’s own Black Thought (Thorn Or a Rose). This, along with the aforementioned Rock Stone, are proof that Marley continues to successfully bridge the gap between different genres and further cements his prowess as a critically acclaimed producer in the industry beyond the reggae landscape.
This was indeed a celebration, and a revelation, with host Stephen “Ragga” Marley.
Stephen Marley Ft. Black Thought – Thorn Or a Rose