A thin line exists between a gimmick and a good thing. When rumors started circulating in reggae circles that some New York boys were assembling tracks for a song-by-song reggae tribute to Pink Floyd's classic album Dark Side of the Moon, many bloodshot eyes were rolling.
Dub Side of the Moon, however, forced cynics to admit that the Easy Star All-Stars had performed the seemingly impossible. It didn't hurt to have a handful of reggae's best-known talents, including Rankin' Joe, Frankie Paul, and current Wailers singer Gary "Nesta" Pine handling vocal duties. None of those vocalists will be in town when the nine-piece ensemble performs the album in its entirety at the Beachland, but the Easy Star All-Stars have nonetheless received great press -- and enthusiastic audiences -- on the few occasions they've performed it.
The Meditations, a roots harmony trio that busted the charts in '74 with the painfully beautiful "Woman Is Like a Shadow," open the show. The band's late-'70s work with crazed producer Lee "Scratch" Perry resulted in roots classics like "No Peace" and "Think So." The trio split when dancehall's digital sounds of the late '80s made roots harmony sounds passé; the roots revival of the '90s brought it back together.