By Laurie Maemura
North Bay’s Sol Horizon and San Francisco’s Native Elements performed a live tribute show to honor the music legacy of Bob Marley at the Elbo Room in the vibrant Mission District on Feb. 3.
“Marley believed that music could change and inspire people. By composing music that was not only entertaining, but had deeply political and spiritual messages,” City College music professor Larry Ferrera said, “much of Marley’s music was influenced by the political and cultural issues of Jamaica. And through his music, he was able to spread his political and spiritual belief to a worldwide audience.”
On the second floor of the Elbo Room, members of Native Elements sang and danced as the crowd of reggae lovers yelled and clapped their hands in the heady, fog infused room.
The ambience was everything to be expected from one of Marley’s concerts from before he passed. People admired his prominence, and his stress-free
lifestyle, and was known as “the king of reggae music” by his global followers.
Sol Horizon, one of the bands paying homage to Marley on the stage, energetically pleased the crowd with an eclectic performance fusion of progressive roots reggae, funk rock, dub, and world beats.
Michael Litwin, the front man vocalist, kept the Marley vibes alive by quoting influential statements such as, “run for cover, Reggae take over,” and “long live spirit, and music.”
Litwin’s powerful voice touched the crowd as they sang along to Bob Marley’s “Concrete Jungle.” Widely grinning, Litwin’s last words were, “doesn’t it feel good to sing Bob Marley?”
Ferrera said that while listening to Marley, he feels an important, universal message is delivered: “Love and peace represent the keys to happiness and brotherhood.” He concluded that Reggae was still very much alive.
The lead singer of Native Elements, Jose Pangan, expressed himself with positive messages and true life stories in his music performed during the Bob Marley Tribute. One song after another, the positive vibrations flowed.
Silver disco balls twirled in circles above and bright yellow and orange lights that bounced from the mirrors. Close by, red lanterns dangled, while blue lasers beamed on closed eyes and smiling faces.
There was something about the cultural vibe in the Mission District of San Francisco that assembled the most unlikely congregation to indulge in the memory of Marley’s legacy. As the night progressed, the young and older aged crowds merged together creating dramatically diverse groups of individuals.
The celebration of life and legacy of Bob Marley sent the audience an important message through the beat of the drums: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”