With a skank and demeanor similar to that of Reggae Icon Bob Marley, it’s evident Rootz Underground front man Stephen Newland, with the help of his band, has major plans to secure a spot in the history of the reggae Movement.
Last Saturday fans turned up at the Hope Gardens Bandshell for the much anticipated release of Rootz’ debut album, Movement, and were treated to a thrilling reggae composed ride.
Taking centrestage, to the harmony of Time Is An Illusion, Newland greeted his audience and then simultaneously broke into song. Swinging his shoulder length locks, devoid of inhibition, Newland’s voice echoed throughout the venue, while his fellow band members rocked – playing their instruments – visually into the vibe.
By the time the band launched into songs such as Hammer and Victims of the System they had the ample crowd mystified by their aura, with some singing their tunes word for word.
“This band is good, and I suspect their following is just going to continue to grow,” said visiting Caymanian resident April General. The band’s strong stage presence continued with a stirring rendition of Fade Away .
“Is everybody feeling good?” Newland asked before commencing Slumberland, after which it was announced that, as previously advertised, Wayne Armond of Chalice and Dean Fraser would no longer be performing due to previous engagements. But even with the announcement of Armond and Fraser’s absence, the crowd was not perturbed and seemed to be more interested in hearing more from Rootz Underground.
With a cover of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Midnight Train, Newland removed his long sleeved jeans shirt to reveal a black merino and really got the crowd moving with In the Jungle.
Abruptly finishing their set and exiting the stage, the Rootz Underground mesmerised audience demanded more, chanting, “We want more Rootz Underground,” until the band came back and continued to fill their fans’ reggae fix with a few more songs.
“Thank you so much for coming to this album launch,” expressed Newland just before for the last time existing the stage. “Dem boy yah a di real deal, and I feel like I just watched the early stages of something that is going to be big in the future,” declared a patron while existing the venue, “Something big!”
DEBRA EDWARDS, Observer staff reporter email@example.com
Monday, May 19, 2008