The Metro Theatre is one of Sydney’s leading venues hosting an array of notable and emerging local and international artists across a wide variety of musical genres and more. But once you step foot into the venue, categories and stereotypes are no longer existent. People begin to embrace the music and one another. This was evident on Friday night at Julian Marley’s Sydney show (son of reggae legend Bob Marley). The Metro presented with a diverse range of individuals from the youthful to the old timers, cultures, from all walks of life and there was such a great sense of unison. After all, that is the essence of reggae music – ‘One Love’.
I must mention that the lady who stood next to me at the front row told me ‘this is the first time I’ve ever heard reggae music, I got dragged along to this show and I’m fucking loving it!’. Music is powerful, but reggae music can change your mentality!
Upon arrival, Sydney based 10 piece roots-reggae band The Strides took to stage with songs from their album Reclamation. Still rocking out since we last saw them perform almost two years ago at Notes Live in Newtown.
After The Strides it seemed like a prolonged set up time for Blue King Brown, however, it was well worth the wait. The audience was greeted by the ladies of Melbourne-based reggae-roots band Blue King Brown, with an acoustic set featuring lead singer Natalie Pa’apa’a and vocalists representing West Papua. With only three vocalists I predicted that this would be an intimate and engaging experience, and we were immersed in the rhythm of the music as well as the message that they wanted to share. Natalie illustrated a song about a couple that were separated due to the hindrance of bureaucratic red tape, however they were reunited again. At the end of BKB’s set I was left with a resonating message “Free West Papua” which was clearly stated on Natalie’s acoustic kickbox.
The crowd was anticipating Julian Marley and as he entered the stage, it was apparent that his father’s spirit continues to live on. Marley shared his Rastafarian faith, knowledge, music and of course his father’s life and spirit. There was a sense of nostalgia growing up to the Marley’s voices in my cassette player. No doubt Marley is acknowledged as an individual artist, but he is also an inclusive collaborator with his 12-piece Uprising Band, performing some original tunes as well as father Bob’s hits. Some memorable songs were ‘Boom Draw’, ‘Babylon Cookie Jar’ and Bob Marley’s ‘Kaya’.
It was refreshing to join some of the country’s most thriving reggae bands alongside Julian Marley, and no doubt they were aptly chosen to support him. With a combination of ‘Worldwize’ humanitarian reggae-roots acts, it became an insightful and memorable show. Although I could see that a larger venue could have easily accommodated a larger crowd.
Click here to check out our photographs from Julian Marley’s Sydney show!