By: [email protected] via Greenleaf Magazine
During the Providence leg of the Life of a Ghetto Youth Tour, we had the opportunity to light it up with Sizzla and his talented ensemble that included Ras Shiloh, Pressure Busspipe and Marlon Asher. The highly anticipated tour brought Sizzla back to the Ocean State for the first time in over 8 years.
The packed house at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel saw vibrant musical performances from very talented artists representing many different styles of Reggae and Caribbean music. Having seen most of these artists in the past perform with live bands, I must say a live band would have really taken things to the next level, however nothing about this show disappointed.
Staying true to form, the show started after a filled house had the whole building smelling of many different kinds of herb. While Izac King was not able to perform in the US due to Visa reasons, Sizzla called up Trinidadian Superstar Orlando Octave to the lineup as well as Sizzla’s own son, Meleku.
Octave preformed his smash hit “Single.” He also told us why it’s so important for him to be on this tour. “I don’t like to be labeled as a genre, I just [make] music. So for me to be on a Reggae tour, and be touring the world right now with a Soca song, is a great accomplishment, and to be touring with the legendary Kalonji. It shows unity.”
Opening sets from Octave and Meleku warmed up the crowd for Ras Shiloh. His captivating and intense vocals sent chills through Lupo’s as he preformed many of his classic songs. We asked him before the show about the experience of touring with this group of musicians, “It’s a blessing, and were like one big family out on the road.”
One of the most memorable performances of the night was from Pressure Busspipe. When asked what style he would bring to the crowd that, he said “Every style. Definitely tonight, every Pressure Busspipe. The lover’s rock, the culture, reality, universal music, remixes, songs for the herbsman and the farmerman. Fire!” He did just that by bringing a taste of his many different musical flavors to this tour. Bangers like “Show Love,” and “Lion is a Lion,” were met with vocals from the crowd, matching his every word, until he free styled the “No Bush” remix which truly set the vibe for the rest of the show.
When Sizzla finally graced the stage, the crowd was primed and ready for him. His legendary voice rocked Lupo’s. The passion and energy he puts into every word is undeniable, one of the many reasons Sizzla’s live performance is a must see for any true music fan. He engaged the crowd as few performers do. Covering both ends of the stage, Sizzla gets so close over the monitors that he appears to levitate above the front of the crowd.
Mid act, the talented line up of the Life of a Ghetto Youth Tour joined Sizzla onstage for a highly anticipated performance of their recently released album of the same title. The album features solo performances as well as many collaboration songs. The positive message of the album is both inspiring and uplifting.
One of my favorite tracks is “Holding On,” from Ras Shiloh and Marlon Asher. The similarities to Simply Red’s Holding Back the Years, makes this song a beautiful throwback. We asked Marlon Asher what keeps him holding on through tough times. “The only thing that helps me push through is actually the love that I have for the almighty God and the love that I have for the music. If we really hold to God, we will get through; share some love to someone that is in need of love and everything will be ok.”
This tour was the best show I saw this summer. Having seen most of the artists perform individually in the past, I was eagerly awaiting the chance to see them perform together. Having the opportunity to discuss their work and hear their story showed me that each of these Reggae Soldiers are as humble as they are talented. The performance along with the message is from the heart. I highly recommend the album. It’s the next best thing to being there.
For the full interviews, be sure to check out Releaf Media on YouTube.