Pick of the Week

Reggae del Sol

For many, the thought of a reggae festival brings about images of smoke-filled air, dreadlocks and a man by the name of Marley. The accuracy of these stereotypes may be questionable, but at the upcoming Roots, Rock, Reggae Festival, one thing is for sure: There will not be only one, but two men by the name of Marley.

Casino del Sol's Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater is hosting the festival this Wednesday, Aug. 16, as part of a 17-city tour. Sons of Bob Marley, Ziggy and Stephen, join Bunny Wailer and other celebrated guests, including Grammy-award winning Latin rock band Ozomatli and MuzikMafia godfather Jon Nicholson. Tickets for the festival are $20 for lawn seating, $35 for pavilion and $45 for gold seating. They are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 321-1000 or at Casino del Sol's own Club Sol. Gates open at 4:30 p.m., and live music begins at 6 p.m. AVA is located at 5655 W. Valencia Road.

The festival, which is titled in full as the "Bob Marley Roots, Rock, Reggae Festival," is definitely not shying away from an association with the late Bob Marley. The title was borrowed from his song, "Roots, Rock, Reggae," which was featured on his 1976 album Rastaman Vibration.

For Ziggy and Stephen Marley, who are headlining the "five-hour genre-blending outdoor music festival," this marks the first time that they have joined reggae pioneer Bunny Wailer on tour. It will also be the first headlining tour for Stephen, where he's performing songs from his solo debut album, Mind Control, which is set to be released this fall.

"Mind Control represents a new stage in Stephen's evolution, one that brings together the genius of his production and his wise and soulful voice with hip-hop beats, smoky bass and winding keyboard runs. This is the sound of a man coming into full realization of his powers--and his legacy," according to a press release.

"It's a blessing to not have to stagger through life. I was born firm and conscious," Stephen was quoted as saying in that same release.

Stephen, who was first heard on a record at the age of 6 as part of the family's group Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, commented on stepping up to take the reins of his father's recordings and the family's various projects at the age of 18. "It was a special experience, but at the same time, it was nothing new, because I grew up around it--so I had it," he said in the release. "But even though I had it, I still had to man it. And even if it's anticipated, it come when it come."

While this festival is indeed a kind of tribute to Bob Marley, Stephen's intensity and focus make it apparent that having the last name Marley isn't just about being somebody's son and having an inheritance. According to this release, "It has everything to do with being an individual with a purpose."

While reggae music is best known for dealing with social issues of the 1970s and '80s, Stephen's music doesn't simply rehash old themes or sounds.

"Stephen uses the full length of the album to balance his range of ideas as a songwriter, musician and a man," according to the press release.

Festival goers can expect a full set from each of the artists, but should also be prepared for collaborations.

"We're very excited to take this tour on the road again to honor the spirit of roots, rock and reggae," commented Ziggy Marley in a press release.

This tour will showcase the first performances by Ziggy of songs from his upcoming album, Love Is My Religion.

Ziggy, who first sat in on recording sessions with his father at the age of 10, deals with social and political issues in his music, such as the crises in nations like Sudan, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Like his brother, he doesn't seem to be idly riding his father's coattails.

"This album is from my heart," Ziggy was quoted as saying.

While there is definitely more to the event than pot and dirty hair, some things do hold true to stereotypes. And there will definitely be men by the name of Marley at this show.

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