By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
As if his Firehouse Band's entrance to "O Fortuna" didn't suggest as much, dancehall don Sizzla couldn't give a shit about Damien Marley. He couldn't give a shit about a lot of things, actuallypolitical correctness, smoking bans, "smoking" bans, but you know that. Still, he barreled through what seemed 30 albums' worth of midtempo numbers in the first 15 minutes. Like Diddy, Sizzla's a vibe giver, but he's also a vibe taker. So when the audience didn't flick a Bic or sing along to songs that weren't "Da Real Thing" or "One of Those Days" or "Jah Knows Best," he skipped to the next riddim and asked, politely, for more fire.
A thing about fire. As someone who can take years just to finish a bottle of Amstel Light, I marveled at the efficiency and professionalism with which the crowd ripped the green stuff. Apparently some people have the ability to inhale smoke from their own dreadlocks. Granted, this is a reggae show, and more than that, Sizzla's certainly made a platform out of pot advocacy, which gave him good between-song recourse when the "people here don't know their own culture" line and "this is why I hate gays" bullshit fell flat. (Though I'll give him, "What are the colors on a stoplight? Red, yellow, greenthat's Jah Rastafari.")
The longer the songs played, the more fiercely he snarled his toasts over the singing audience's flubbed but earnest patois"Thank You Mama" jerked tears the smoke couldn't. People do and want to continue to like this magnetic artist despite the semi-dissonance. Pure tuff things, they are Jah. And oh, "Jamrock" played on the way out too.