Old Dreads, New Sounds
All bands aspire to create music that will stand the test of time. This is no simple task, as it requires a perfect storm of elements ranging from the talent of the musicians to the time frame the band exists in. As genres grow, fragment and die, it has become even more difficult to create long-lasting and telltale sounds that persevere. Think about contemporary music and ask yourself how much of it your kids will be listening to twenty years from now? And of the music that has been passed down to us from prior generations, how many of those musicians can you still go see live?
The Wailers have not only succeeded in creating music that spans decades, they are a band whose original formation helped define the one-drop Reggae sound.
It would be sacrilege to talk about the Wailers without mentioning the late Bob Marley. Though reggae music existed before Marley, most of the world associates the upstrokes and lofty melodies of this genre with The Wailers and their iconic former vocalist. Together with Marley, The Wailers sold 250 million albums internationally.
Life after Marley for The Wailers, though perhaps not as star-studded, is healthy and fast paced. With gigs in Africa, Europe and the United States, the group remains active. Spearheaded by Aston Barrett, an original member and close confidant of Marleys, The Wailers have added the youthful Jamaican vocalist Koolant to their legendary sound. Koolant, though aware of himself as a new generation of reggae singer, is still very much rooted in the music that came before him.
"Bob Marley was a prophet, and its an honor to be a part of that,” Koolant says of his joining The Wailers shortly after his 2006 debut in the film Made in Jamaica.
The Wailers are also strong supporters of the World Food Program, the United Nations primary agency for hunger solution, having contributed exclusive songs to the benefit album Solutions for Dreamers 3, as well as championing WFP on their home website www.wailers.com
The Wailers play 6 pm Friday, July 22, at the Cuthbert Amphitheatre; $29-$35. ã Dante Zu¿iga-West
Happy Birthday, Sam Bonds Garage!
Before Ninkasi and art walks, before block parties and food carts, there was Sam Bonds Garage. Ranked as one of Americas best bars by Esquire magazine, Sam Bonds Garage is one of Eugenes most (in)famous hangouts, drinking holes and live music venues, and this month the bar is celebrating 16 years of putting the Whit in the Whiteaker. Helping with the festivities is an all-star lineup of some of Eugenes best musicians, including the Golden Motors, Leo London, Mood Area 52 and more.
The Golden Motors are themselves an all-star lineup featuring veteran Eugene songsmith Dan Jones, Scott K of the Pass Out Kings on guitar, Dan Schmid of the Cherry Poppin Daddies on bass, and James West on drums. Theyre a garage-rock outfit that explores the missing link between Guided By Voices and Neil Youngs Crazy Horse. Leo London is a Eugene pop-songwriter in the classic sense ã think Randy Newman, Ray Davies or Brian Wilson. His songs are wry, acerbic, catchy and tuneful. Mood Area 52 is a staple of local stages and plays a mixture of nouveau tango, gypsy-jazz and traditional pop-songwriting ã like Tom Waits meets Django Reinhardt in New Orleans. Rounding out the lineup is the cool contemporary jazz sounds of Voodoun Moi, with special guests promised. MCing the night is local bartender, humorist and all-around bon vivant Ty Connor.
So order up a couple Mason jars of local brew and help celebrate Sam Bonds birthday. Cheers Sam Bonds Garage ã without you the Whiteaker, and Eugene itself, would not be the community it is today.
Sam Bonds Garage 16th Anniversary Show is 9 pm Saturday, July 23, at Sam Bonds Garage; $5. ã William Kennedy
The Blast from Baghdad
Iraqi heavy metal burns up Black Forest
It was shoulder-to-shoulder and thigh-to-thigh with raging strangers in uncomfortably tight quarters ã the crowd thrashed and flailed. Accrassicauda continues to make history.
On the tail end of their flagship tour, Iraqi metal band Accrassicauda lit up the Black Forest with metal so raucous that ears rang, mosh pits erupted, stage divers writhed and photographers were knocked off balance, left to fend for themselves in a sea of elbows and two-pronged hand salutes.
"This is why we left home, to do this. To get on stage, to burn the stage and melt people,” says bassist Firas Al-Lateef, who is full of a jovial enthusiasm that almost makes one forget how intense of a history he and the band have.
Accrassicauda, refugees from a country the U.S. has made war upon, now chase one of the most quintessential American dreams ever ã professional musicianship. With more than enough talent to make it happen and a rapidly growing fan base, these boys from Baghdad command a sound that is reminiscent of Metallicas Black Album, and they look like something straight out of that time period as well.
Lead vocalist Faisal Talal Mustafa is a lion of the stage, facilitating a dynamic that is masterfully orchestrated chaos. The energy the men of Accrassicauda release upon the audience is war-torn and feral, and witnessing their rise to notoriety is not only noteworthy but also spectacular. They can shred with the best of them. They have impeccable timing and rhythm, with a cohesion that could be felt and heard all the way down 11th Avenue. You come home from their live show with your ears feeling like theyve just survived the sound of an indoor shotgun blast.
Seemingly reluctant to be a cultural ambassador, Al-Lateef speaks briefly on the War in Iraq. "War is war, we dont really know what countries do,” he says. "We just want to play music. It is a great honor to be able to do this and we want to see how far we can go with it.”
It is unknown whether Eugene will see Accrassicuada come through again, because within a year or so you may have to take a drive in order to see them live at the larger venues of bigger cities. For now, they remain on a rocket-propelled trajectory with support from companies such as Peavey, Guitar Center and Yamaha helping to fuel their ordinance. It may only be a brief matter of time before they completely explode upon the American metal scene. ã Dante Zu¿iga-West
Accrassicauda Sunday, July 17 | Black Forest | Photo by Trask Bedortha
More photos at blogs.eugeneweekly.com