The Wailers light up Trustees in a sold out Savannah Music Festival concert

Why don’t we get more reggae in Savannah?

It took a couple of songs for the Wailers to hit their stride last night before a packed crowd at Trustees Theater, but the band soon had the entire audience standing, swaying, dancing, and singing.

The band performed the famed album Survival in its entirety, and then seemed to end the show — a curious moment as they had only been performing for 45 minutes. And then they came back out for the “encore” — over an hour of Bob Marley and the Wailers most recognizable hits.

Bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett is the living connection to Marley — although for the first couple of numbers it seemed like Barrett’s bass line was going to drown out even the vocals. But soon the levels got right, and lead singer Koolant Brown took over the show.

I was really impressed by Koolant, a cool and sexy frontman who does just about everything one could want in channeling the spirit of Marley.

Koolant was joined at first only by the guitar for “Redemption Song” to start the second half of the show. It was a beautiful, stirring version, and one could feel the religious roots of the music coursing through the crowd.

As the diverse audience rocked and danced, the band performed the classics: “Stir It Up”, “One Love”, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, “I Shot the Sheriff”, and “Exodus”.

This was the Savannah Music Festival’s first programming of reggae, and I’m guessing the festival was thrilled with the full house and the glowing reception.

Though we don’t get to hear much live reggae around these parts, the songs of Bob Marley have pretty close to universal appeal — young and old, black and white, men and women. The crowd knew the lyrics to all the classics, so that Koolant could just turn the mic toward the audience whenever he wished. But the show was at its best when Koolant was singing passionately as the entire house rocked along with him.

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