Concert Review: Sunfest Part V — Sly and Robbie, Gin Blossoms

The Riddim Twins (photo credit: Daniel Miller)
The Riddim Twins (photo credit: Daniel Miller)

Day 4, Sat. May 2, 2009 — Sly & Robbie: Reggae’s most famous rhythm section took to the stage in the middle of a sunny afternoon and immediately transported the audience to an atmospheric dimension of mysterious dub.  Accompanied by a spare horn section, consisting of trumpet and sax, with the trumpet player doubling as a vocalist for a number of the songs, drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare ran through their thirty-year catalogue of hits produced either for their own label’s band (The Taxi Gang) or for other artists. Songs like “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”, “Ballistic Affair”, “Arlene”, “Shine-Eye Gal” and “Revolution” highlighted the duo’s heyday of the late ’70s and early ’80s when they dominated the Jamaican singles charts.  The second half of most of these songs would essentially be the dub version of the track; Dunbar, almost hidden behind his cymbals, would crouch down while tapping out intricate reverb-drenched rhythms, while Shakespeare stood in front of the drum kit in a long, black leather coat, playing what can only be described as lead bass. For the Dawn Penn hit “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)”  the bassist even took his frontman pose to the surprising next step by handling the lead vocal. This was reggae at its best, and Sly & Robbie demonstrated quite ably why their reggae skills are in demand to this day.

Gin Blossoms:

Bassist Bill Leen of the Gin Blossoms is the only band member naive enough to bring his instrument with him to a bad neighbourhood
Guitarist Scotty Johnson of the Gin Blossoms is the only band member naive enough to bring his instrument to a bad neighbourhood


The afternoon set from this Phoenix band was actually the second half of a touring collaboration with fellow ’90 rockers Tonic. The Type Writer only caught the last few songs of the Gim Blossoms’ performance but it was still worth seeing. This group made its reputation with laid-back, jangly numbers such as “Alison Road” and “Until I Fall Away” but that didn’t stop frontman Robin Wilson from injecting some doses of high energy into the show from time to time. During one song, he stood on top of the kick drum while belting out his vocal; later during the hit “Hey Jealousy”, he left the stage to go sing in front of the lawn-seat audience, even cheerfully yelling into cellphones. The Type Writer also got to hear “Till I Hear It from You”, the group’s hit from the Empire Records soundtrack that was written with pop songwriting legend Marshall Crenshaw. All in all, listening to the Gin Blossoms was a pleasant way to decompress after the intense dub of Sly and Robbie.

Concert Review: Sunfest Part IV — Paul Green School of Rock, Collective Soul


Paul Green School of Rock -- Saving Rock'n'Roll One Kid at a Time

Paul Green School of Rock: Saving Rock’n’Roll One Kid at a Time


 Friday May 1st, Day 3

Paul Green School of Rock: Sunfest has always had activities and music geared towards the younger set during the weekend portion of the festival, and this year was no exception. Set up near one of the festival entrances was an area called Youth Park. And it was on its stage that students of the Palm Beach franchise of the Paul Green School of Rock reigned supreme all weekend,  drawing on their varied repertoire of classic-rock hits. In the weekends prior to Sunfest, the SOR put on a pair of concerts covering material by AC/DC and The Beatles respectively,  and selections from this material featured prominently during their Friday performance. Highlights include “Come Together” and “I Am The Walrus” from the Fab Four’s catalogue, and “Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)”, an early AC/DC classic. Also noteworthy was the SOR’s performance of Deep Purple’s “Hush” to close out that evening’s show.

Rock 'n' roll means never having to have good table manners
Rock 'n' Roll means never having to have good table manners

Collective Soul: This Georgia-based quintet began its performance on with a couple of relatively obscure tracks, so they seemed compelled to sell this material with a lot of cliched larger-than-life stage gestures. All that fell away, however, once the band moved into its first big hit “Shine”. As the audience sang along with this ’90s rock hit, the band finally seemed to relax and enjoy the moment, and other hits such as  “December” and “The World I Know” quickly followed. The band also featured a couple tracks from its upcoming release, and if this material is any indication of the album as a whole, it should be a good one. This concert was also a good reminder that the band has continued to enjoy airplay well past its original heyday in the mid ’90s, as the latter part of the performance featured hits such as  “Run”, best known from the soundtrack for the film “Varsity Blues”, and 2004’s uptempo “Better Now”. All in all, an entertaining show for the crowd gathered by the Intracoastal.

The Anniversary Type

Happy Birthday to Us
Nothing says "Happy Birthday" like some ugly free clip art
Where does the time go: has it really been a year since The Music Type first came to life? On June 1st of last year, the first real post of this blog, an article on the closing of Lake Worth’s premier live-music venue,  The Bamboo Room, was published.  (I don’t really count “What’s Your Type” as this blog’s first post, since it was basically a welcome-message/place-holder.)
Since then, over 1900 readers have viewed the posts contained within. While that’s not the biggest of blog audiences, the first year of The Music Type’s existence  did include an inadvertent four-month gap stretching from the late-November post, “The Original Music Type”, a tribute to my late father’s taste in music, through to the most recent installment of Bill’s Postings, a Palm Beach Post column by music journalist Bill Meredith about the songwriters’ night I host at Lake Wort’s best-known shabby-chic-restaurant Havana Hideout. And The Music Type has attracted over three times as many readers as its parent, Type M for Music, in half the time, which is why our ancestral webzine will be moving from the soon-to-be-defunct Geocities domain to join TMT on WordPress very shortly…
But thanks to all the readers who have made this venture into the blogging realm a worthwhile exercise. And thanks to all of my fellow bloggers who welcomed me with open keyboards; the Type Writer salutes you. I hope I will continue to be your Music Type during Year 2 of this blog’s existence; feel free to continue to comment on the posts being published here. In other words, Enjoy The Typing…
p.s. Unfortunately for South Florida live-music fans, the Bamboo Room remains dark. But diagonally across from it on the other side of J Street is a new live-music venue called Propaganda. I’ve mentioned it in passing during a Pretty Faces post, but it is well deserving of its own post, and that it will have shortly. Also I keep hearing rumours that the Bamboo Room will re-open, so the minute that is confirmed, I’ll be sure to let you know…