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‘Roots, Rock, Reggae’ Delivered to Belly Up

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‘Roots, Rock, Reggae’ Delivered to Belly Up

Gwendolyn Jackson

The encore featured Marley (left) and Morgan performing "Get Up Stand Up" and "Redemption Song."

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Ky-Mani Marley and Roy ‘Gramps’ Morgan performed with passion and energy inside the Belly Up Tavern on July 19. 

Marley's aggressive stage presence moved the reggae massive while Morgan soothed the crowd with beautiful lovers' rock ballads. 

Marley burst onto the stage at 11:30 p.m., singing his father’s (Bob Marley) “Roots, Rock Reggae,” setting the tempo for the evening: full throttle. It’s a standard among the Marley offspring to pay tribute to their father’s music and legacy. At the Belly Up, Marley also performed “Is This Love?,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Get Up Stand Up,” the last as a duet with Morgan. 

A bit of a surprise was the order of Marley’s new hit song “New Heights,” off his upcoming album, Evolution of a Revolution (it was performed second). Fans sang the chorus of the catchy tune “One Time” while Marley rip and ran across the stage doing his signature abrupt-stop-and-pause maneuver. Appealing to his hip-hop fans, Marley brought the house down with “The March,” “Hustler” and “Ghetto Soldier,” hits songs from his album Radio. Closing out the 60-minute, 12-song set, Marley and Morgan performed the inspiring reggae anthem “Redemption Song” --another classic of Bob Marely's. It’s always a pleasure hearing the reggae legend’s music, especially when performed by his sons. It was baffling to me, however, why half of Ky-Mani Marley’s set were covers of Bob Marley’s music. Nonetheless, Marley the son put to rest any banter regarding his ability to measure up to his famous last name. 

Morgan truly captured 2 Sides of My Heart, opening his set with the track “All Together.” Lovers in the crowd snuggled close while rocking to the smooth melodies that the reggae crooner bellowed out. The sensuous song “One in a Million” resonated with women in the audience as Morgan flirted with the ladies standing in front of the stage. The body warming track “Come Back to Bed” had lovely sexual overtones but told the story of a heartbroken man. “The Almighty” is a powerful spiritual track that Morgan will release on his upcoming album. The husky, graveled-voice Morgan then belted out his hit song “Wash the Tears,” which ended his set.  Morgan graciously signed autographs and took pictures with fans after the show.

The two performers delivered magnificent sets in Solana Beach, each offering different genres of reggae and Marley adding a dash of hip-hop.

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