You have to be skeptical when national magazines begin touting unproven artists as the next great this or the savior of that. But there's Ziggy Marley being praised in Time, heralded in the L.A. Times and plastered on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Ziggy Marley is going to restore reggae to the pedestal Bob Marley once elevated it to. He is the future of reggae, they promised.The thing about promises is they are so hard to keep, especially if you're not the one making them. But if ticket sales are any kind of barometer, Ziggy Marley may just be the savior reggae is looking for after all.
A crowd far in excess of capacity crowded the Triad Amphitheatre Tuesday night to dance to Ziggy's seductive rhythms. Dancing might be overstating it. The standing-room-only crowd was packed so tight the best most people could manage was mass swaying.
The crowd did the best they could, despite chilly temperatures and a two-hour wait for Marley & Co. to take the stage. But once started, Marley proved there is far more substance to his music than there is hype.
It has to be difficult for Ziggy to carve his own musical directions while living in the shadow of his legendary father. But he's doing a very good job of it. Pulling most of his material from his new "Conscious Party" LP, Marley proved a son can carry on a father's mission, but with new ideas and new style.
The keyboards, electric guitar solos, electric drums and sisters Cadella and Sharon singing gospel-like backups all added new dimension to the traditional Jamaican-rooted music. And Ziggy, despite his tender years, stood comfortably at center stage as a prophet for the poor and captive throughout the world.
Whether he's singing "Revelation" or "Tumblin' Down" or "We Propose" or "Lee and Molly," Ziggy Marley has a message one that is not veiled in imagery or poetry. It's a straightforward, unequivocal message delivered with such passion that both rich and poor, black and white, old and young were captivated.
It was nothing short of a lyrical feast a conscious party that had people of all social, religious, political and musical persuasions singing and dancing together.
Not that Ziggy Marley's performance was perfect or even close. Ziggy has little, if any, stage charisma. And much of the performance was borderline pretentious, particularly his one-line Rastafarian pronunciations such as "For all the wicked men do, they must pay in this generation."
But Ziggy Marley's carving his own direction in direction, and is proving he can, and will, succeed in stepping out of the shadow of Bob Marley. A surprising number of people in Utah seemed to approve.