Photo By Gary Miller
Ziggy MarleyStubb's, June 14
It's a decidedly un-irie sign when the namesake of his own band feels the need to record a solo album. Worse still, Ziggy Marley's new Dragonfly
manages even less melody than the ever-dwindling flow found on almost a dozen LPs from his childhood group, the Melody Makers. It was Virgin Records that permanently affixed "Ziggy Marley & the" to Melody Makers on 1989's cannon classic Conscious Party
, but it's probably fair to assume that the eldest son of reggae prophet Bob Marley had at least some
latitude within the musical clan of reggae's first family. Actually, it's Ziggy's brother Stephen Marley who needs to strike out on his own. In the younger Melody Maker beats a killer hip-hop/reggae hybrid, which yet another Marley scion -- Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley -- captured on 2001's Grammy-winning (and terrific nonetheless) Halfway Tree
. David Marley, meanwhile, aka "Ziggy," landed his peace-seeking Dragonfly
on a healthy assemblage of graying Bohos and Izodstafarians outside at Stubb's. With Saturday night's full moon on the rise and not a leaf stirring even though bales of herb were being torched, Marley was the antithesis of his late father's band, the Wailers, the remnants of whom burn down Antone's annually. Backed by two singers and a sixpiece band that included veteran drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis and six-string bassist Christopher Meredith, Marley's opener "Melancholy Mood" set a mood from which his almost two-hour set never recovered. Even the incantation that precedes Conscious Party
haunting "Dreams of Home" and which Ziggy uses to bless his shows didn't absolve the evening. "Right now, I'd like to get out of my box," announced Marley one song later, and indeed, the new "I Get Out" demonstrated both anthemics and an all-too-familiar singing style: eyes closed during delivery, running in place in between -- the guitar mostly for show. And that One Voice. Bob's "Concrete Jungle" afterward was a perfect segue, as was going from Papa Marley's "Is This Love" into Ziggy's new Dragonfly
-er "Rainbow in the Sky," which employs a portion of the former song's chord progression. Ziggy's lionizing "Yeeeaaahhh!!!"
was another spine-tingling evocation of music history. Nevertheless, eight out of 11 tracks from the nominal Dragonfly
, no Melody Makers faves, and an uninspired sampling of daddy's stash ("Jamming," encore "Redemption Song"), burned brown not green. Set closer "Good Old Days" was energetic, but first encore "Never Deny You," with Marley on the keyboards, was a miscue, and "Baby We've Got a Date (Rock It Baby)" never caught fire. Who the cap fit ...