Denver’s own Rockers Movement, dedicated to bringing Colorado the highest, most irie roots reggae from all over the world, did just that this past Friday night, July 18, 2014, at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom in celebration of the late, great African peace-keeper, Nelson Mandela. All the way from the Virgin Island of St. Croix, Midnite is the roots movement of our time. Seriously the best live reggae show I’ve ever experienced, these veterans jam out like no other, besides probably the legend Bob Marley himself. Altogether, the evening was a profoundly insightful celebration for the global unity advocated by Rastafari & reggae culture: One Love.
With the very same power & presence, and in the spiritual lineage of the late Marley, lead singer Vaughn Benjamin belts out deeply moving lyrics in praise of Jah. Actively more political in nature, the implied message behind the devotional words is a rejection of Babylonian corruption & return to Zion, the Promised Land. A clear call to action of the Rastafari movement, it’s no wonder the band has had such a lasting legacy upon world & roots reggae music since its inception in 1989.
In a modern world nearly devoid of activist entertainers, Midnite is like a breath of fresh air! Between the band’s light & tight dubs & Benjamin’s inspiring songwriting, a renewed enlightenment stirs in the hearts of all those who listen. Sometimes obscured by his deep Caribbean accent, except in chorus, the lyricism expressed through the wide lens of reggae music still carries a strong, spiritual calling at its core. Like Bob Marley & the Wailers, Midnite’s call to peace through unity is at times as joyful as love & others nearly as affective as the American blues.
Taking as diverse of influences as their live show is powerful, the rockers cite both Wailers Bob Marley & Peter Tosh, as well as Jamaican bassists & percussionists as influences, and clearly strive to employ modern dub & American rock-n-roll aesthetics as tools for proliferating the music & message. Incorporating jazzy horns, upbeat dub guitar & irie, soulful vocals, the collective is a highly mystical musical force of tremendous scope & breadth. Whether listening to their records or experiencing Midnite live, listeners are left with a deep sense of awe & gratitude so rarely equaled in modern music, and especially in live musical entertainment.
Through & through, Rockers Movement’s Nelson Mandela Day celebration far exceeded expectations as a community gathering for global unity & peace. From opening local Colorado rockers Rastasaurus and Selasee & the Fafa Family, through tweener DJ, dubbist Selecta Nikka T, until the prolific Rastafari, Midnite, the vibes at the legendary Cervantes perfectly embodied the evening’s theme. Reminded by the montage of the great Mandela, I trust that satisfied attendees left In Awe, with a profoundly deeper spiritual commitment to the Rastafari movement & global proliferation of peace in unity, as true Children of Jah. I know I did.
One Love-Jah-Rastafari-Haile Selasie