Bob Marley’s eldest son Ziggy lit up The Bowery Ballroom with a smoking set of roots, rock and reggae. Whereas brother Damien’s Welcome To Jamrock is a contemporary take on the genre, combining dancehall and rap in its wake, Ziggy’s is a down home, grass roots affair where the love vibes flow and the rhythms sway to the pulsating beats of the Caribbean sun.
At The Bowery, Ziggy played up his most recent, Love Is My Religion, his second solo effort since parting ways with his siblings The Melody Makers after eight albums. His first one was 2003’s Dragonfly. On the new one, Ziggy plays most of the instruments and he produced and wrote all the songs.
He was joined by a stellar backup band that boomed and pulsated in glorious Rasta reds, yellows and greens. Ziggy bounced and his dreds swirled as he laid down his smooth vibrato in homage to the Tuff Gong, proving in this case the old saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Opening with “In The Groove” from the new one, the band pulsed to the solid grooves and the spicy Afro-pop from the lead guitarist laid over some meandering bass lines that delicately sucked the crowd into its densely packed, funkified trance. The band’s hypnotic, rock steady beats flowed into a cosmic union on “Keep On Dreaming” that Ziggy dedicated to his father.
Bob’s “Forever Loving Jah” from his Uprising (1980) was delivered as a sermon to the Ethiopian leader Rastafari that lies at the core of his son’s spiritual quest. The title track from “Love Is My Religion” had the crowd singing along on the chorus as it molted into a hymnal to world peace.
“Africa Unite” from The Wailers’ Survival combined the messages of love and the politics of redemption and freedom for all, closing the circle on a glorious night to Jah.