Muddy-footed reggae fans, blissed out on Jah-love to Damian Marley’s high-octane mix of dubstepping power jams and reggae classics late Tuesday night.
Marley, son of reggae icon Bob Marley, took the stage at about 11 p.m. at the La Guacima racetrack in the northwest province of Alajuela. He had an enthusiastic, albeit damp, audience stomping in the mud within moments of his arrival. Afternoon rains had soaked the grounds while an assortment of opening acts warmed up the crowd.
Damian Marley is the youngest of Bob Marley’s sons and a carrier of his father’s musical legacy. He first found mainstream success with his 2004 album Welcome to Jamrock, but he has toured since the age of 13. In recent years Marley has collaborated with rapper Nas, and, in September, he and Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger released an album with other collaborators under the moniker SuperHeavy.
But Marley didn’t touch on SuperHeavy tunes Tuesday night preferring to fire up the masses with hard-hitting versions of his own tunes like “Me Name Junior Gong” and “Road to Zion” before ending with a collection of covers from his father’s reggae canon. Several times during the night Marley seemed to be channeling Bob’s spirit as a maestro in his own right.
He wrapped the first act of the show with his dad’s classic “Could You Be Loved” before returning to rock the encore with more covers and then a blistering breakdown of base-heavy dubstep tracks from Welcome to Jamrock.
Local acts Shel, Johnny Man, Jahricio, Noah and aRNine worked the crowd through the rain and Argentine bands Dread Mar I and Zona Ganjah saw the night in before Marley took the stage.