The Wailers Bring Legendary Trench Town Sound To State Theatre
Before Bob Marley branched off to enjoy an extremely successful solo career, he cut his teeth in the birthplace of Jamaican music — Kingston’s Trench Town. Though Marley tragically passed away in 1981 at the age of 36, his influence lives on through the modern lineup of his band, The Wailers, who stopped by the State Theatre Tuesday night for a historic concert that was years in the making.
Now a seven-member group, The Wailers prominently feature original member Aston “Family Man” Barrett on bass and his son Aston Barrett, Jr. on the drums. Dwayne “Danglin” Anglin, with dreadlocks reminiscent of Mr. Marley himself, set the tone vocally alongside Cegee Victory, who projected a Rihanna-like presence. Melvin Glover, Chaka Taylor, and Audley “Chizzy” Chisholm round out the lot on rhythm guitar, keyboards, and lead guitar, respectively.
The Wailers took the stage in front of a packed State Theatre to tremendous applause from audience members both young and old, opening their set with “Is This Love,” originally from 1978’s Kaya before being added to Marley’s and their world-renowned compilation album Legend. The two-hour-plus-long show rolled on with “Easy Skanking,” another timeless track from Kaya, before seamlessly transitioning back into a rousing rendition of “No Woman, No Cry,” which featured an outstanding guitar solo by Chisholm.
The ever-popular “Buffalo Soldier” was next on the docket, followed by “Survival,” the title track from Marley and The Wailers’ 1979 project. “We are the survivors of all trials and tribulation, persecution and pollution,” Anglin echoed. The frontman chimed in on the topic of positive vibes and treating one another with love and respect throughout the show, consistent with Rastafari values. 1982’s “Why Should I” from Songs of Freedom preluded another pair of famous tracks from Legend — “Three Little Birds,” which featured a neat back-and-forth exchange with the crowd, and “Jammin,'” before the group took a brief intermission.
After returning to the stage, The Wailers kicked things off with “Lively Up Yourself,” a previously unreleased song from disc two of Legend before playing one of their earliest hits, “Concrete Jungle,” from 1973’s Catch a Fire. “I Shot the Sheriff” was received with thunderous applause and plenty of audience interaction before an unbelievable version of “Could You Be Loved” reverberated throughout the theatre. Next up was “Satisfy My Soul,” another classic from Kaya. The Wailers saved some of their best for last, as Anglin invited the whole auditorium to stand. “Represent yourselves,” he said, raising an arm in the air and swaying along with the music. The crowd followed suit in jubilation.
Before wrapping up the evening with one last pair of beloved tracks, Anglin took some time to share some of his and the band’s life philosophy. “We are the solution to all this corruption and pollution. No more tolerating racism and police brutality. Stand up for your rights.” This was certainly a fitting transition to the wildly popular “Get Up, Stand Up,” which provided an unmatched surge in energy. The crowd roared in appreciation as the majority of the band bowed off the stage, leaving only Anglin and Chisholm to conduct a beautiful acoustic version of “Redemption Song.”
Tuesday night’s performance by this group of music legends undoubtedly left a lasting impression on the State College community.