Music » Livewire

The Itals

With SOJA and DJ Tommy Fox. Saturday, March 25, at the Grog Shop.

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With buoyant three-part harmonies and a classic bent, the Itals are well-appointed keepers of classic Jamaican roots flame. Since its earliest singles --fuming Rastafarian devotionals like "Time Will Tell" and "Don't Wake the Lion" -- the group has always preferred the lilt of rock to the thump of dancehall, and frontman Keith Porter (the only remaining founding member) has navigated shifts in personnel and popular trends by staying loyal to the sound he helped create decades ago.

If the Itals never found the stateside popularity of such roots stalwarts as the Mighty Diamonds or Culture, Porter's recent self-release, Mi Livity, shows that their sound has aged remarkably well. The band, on the road celebrating its 30th anniversary, proves that the revolutionary fire and brimstone of such early numbers as "We Waan Justice" and "Kill Crime" have just as much conviction as Porter's recent explorations of love and Rastafarian faith. Holding it all together is the spiritual, charismatic delivery of the man himself (these days alongside his daughter, Kada), which is nothing if not dignified.

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