Music » Livewire

The Wailers

With Istan Black & the Sweets. Saturday, November 13, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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No one could have predicted the enormous worldwide influence the Wailers were to have when the young Bob Marley began singing as a teenager in the early '60s. From the rough streets of Kingston's infamous Trench Town ghetto, where the Wailers got their start, to selling millions of records and packing theaters the world over, Marley has become one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. Granted, today the legend has overshadowed Marley himself, but for those too young to have seen him, the Wailers remain the closest we are likely to come.

Today, the band is a celebration of Marley's music. Composed of musicians who played alongside Marley, both live and in the studio, the 11-piece band is led by bassist Aston "Familyman" Barrett, who played on nearly all of Marley's classic recordings, from the dawn of the '70s till the master's death from cancer in '81. His bone-rattling, take-no-prisoners approach is almost as recognizable as Marley's own voice; tunes such as "I Shot the Sheriff," "Buffalo Soldier," "Exodus," even the late Peter Tosh's herbal anthem "Legalize It" were all graced by Familyman's tasty licks. Fronting the group is former City Heat vocalist Gary "Nesta" Pines, considered the best frontman the Wailers have had since Bob himself.

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