September 29, 2017

Damien Marley Brings the Energy to Commodore Ballroom Vancouver

damien marley conor graham nightmair creative

When I got the tickets to last night’s Damien Marley show, I was a little hesitant. Because, not only have I never been to a Damien Marley concert, I have never even been to a Reggae concert. It was safe to say I didn’t know what to expect.

So to be honest, when Caleb Hart came on stage and opened the show I was a little disappointed. He had no live band backing him, a DJ played all of his music, which can be great but wasn’t in this case. On top of this the first two songs, he played felt like very standard reggae songs. Hart had a great voice, it was powerful, but the songs he was using it for were a little lackluster.

It wasn’t until Hart’s last two songs, “Good Times” and “Always Remember” that I started to enjoy his performance. In those songs, it became clear that one thing Reggae artists are extremely talented at is combining the fun of dance songs with the impact of songs focused on social commentary. When Caleb Hart finally hit this balance, his performance was taken to another level.

There was a lot of time between Caleb Hart and Damien Marley during which the crowd got a little restless. But the tension in the room was cut when a Bob Marley song, “Stir It Up” came over the PA and the crowd started to sing along. It was a beautiful moment, and it set the proper atmosphere for Damien Marley to begin the show.

And what a beginning it was. After the long wait, Marley took the stage in a storm of lights and music. Each member of his band working in sync with each other and the intensely strobing stage lights. Marley threw himself into the first song and raised the volume to eleven. From that point on in the show, the energy in the crowd was off the charts. Whether he played a high energy or low energy song, from which he would fluctuate back and forth expertly, the excitement in the room was palpable.

Marley’s band was also very tight, the bass player was pumping out thunderous bass lines, and the drummer was out of control talented. Marley’s backup singers sang beautifully and busted out some killer dance moves. Marley’s guitar player was appropriately groovy, but the man on stage who stole the show was waving the Jamaican flag for the entire set.

Damien Marley himself was also extremely impressive, showing some proficient rapping skill on the word heavy “Time Travel” and some vocal range on the song “Nail Pon Cross.” Marley also took a moment to speak to the crowd about marijuana and medical marijuana use before he called for legalization in the song, “Medication” which was quite poignant. But beyond all of Marley’s impressive skills, the most impressive feature of his performance is his endurance. He was able to keep to energy up for the entire nearly two-hour show.

Throughout the show Damien Marley played renditions of two of his father’s songs, “Is This Love” and “You Could Be Loved.” With each song, the room fills with a joyous sort of nostalgia as Vancouver got to witness music be passed down from generation to generation.

When Marley left the stage before his encore, the crowd began to stomp their feet so hard it sounded like an army was approaching. Marley took to the stage to finish out the show, for which he saved “Road to Zion” and “Welcome to Jamrock” for last. Amazingly he performed “Welcome to Jamrock” with just as much energy as any other song he performed that night.

Leaving the concert, after not knowing what to expect when I arrived, I think I got more than I bargained for. Damien Marley put on a loving and energetic performance that was so fun and so free.

all rights reserved
written Conor Graham / photos by Conor Graham (click for full size)
Check out Conor’s video of Damian Marley Jam Rock below

damien marley conor graham nightmair creative damien marley conor graham nightmair creative damien marley conor graham nightmair creative



Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *