Anyone bearing witness to the opening scene of 1978 cult film Rockers, wherein Rasta hymn “Satta Massagana” is sung under a thatched hut without an amplifier in sight, knows that roots reggae often comes truly alive when stripped down to the most basic elements. So it will be when Clinton Fearon of the Gladiators touches down for a pair of unplugged shows, accompanied only by an acoustic guitarist and vocal harmonies from his daughter.
Raised in the rural countryside of Jamaica, Fearon ventured to Kingston in 1969 as a teenager and soon became one-third of the Gladiators and a session musician at both Coxsone Dodd’s legendary Studio One and Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Black Ark. The man’s basslines back Max Romeo, Burning Spear, Yabby You, Junior Byles, and dozens, maybe hundreds of others. Leaning on stone classics including “Let Jah Be Praised” and “Richman Poorman,” which he penned for the Gladiators, Fearon’s back-to-the-roots set opens the Flamingo Cantina show while an earlier performance that day blesses the grand opening of Pool Burger (2315 Lake Austin Blvd.) with al fresco island vibes served alongside choice selections from KUTX’s Jay Trachtenberg and former Soul Happening DJ – and now New Orleans’ WWOZ jock – Noel Waggener.
One of Jamaica’s golden age harmony trios, the Meditations headline later that night on Sixth Street. The group’s 1976 debut, Message From the Meditations, included sublime single “Woman Is Like a Shadow” and quickly garnered them work backing the biggest names on the island: Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Gregory Isaacs, etc. The current lineup is still led by founding member, bandleader, and producer Ansel “Meditation” Cridland.
Sat., Nov. 25, 9pm