The Wailers unite reggae lovers in Missouri with message of one love
The Wailers, led by reggae royalty Aston Barrett Jr. on drums, brought the spirit of Bob Marley and the heart of Jamaica with them all the way to St. Louis, MO on April 12th at The Old Rock House. In the shadow of The Gateway Arch, the venue was sold out and packed to the gills. Luckily it was an absolutely perfect Spring evening so folks didn’t seem too bothered about standing outside on the patio and watching through the wall of windows. If anything, it gave everyone just a little bit more room to dance and enjoy the night. Everything about the show was exactly what I was expecting, but in a way that didn’t at all disappoint. I wanted to see what I was expecting and that is precisely what I got, a high energy celebration of a band that is spanning across multiple generations and showing no signs of stopping.
As mentioned before, the current version of The Wailers is driven forward by Aston Barrett Jr., their leader and drummer who is also the son of bassman Aston “Familyman” Barrett and nephew to drummer Carlton “Carly” Barrett, both of the original Wailers lineup. Being born into such a mighty reggae family, it only makes sense that Aston Jr. has taken the reins and continued to push the message that Bob Marley didn’t want to end with his dying breath.
A message of one love and acceptance, tolerance and understanding, and most importantly, the idea that music is the driving force that can bring all of us together once and for all.
The atmosphere that night was relaxed and filled with love. Mitchell Brunings confidently stepped into the role of Bob Marley and he fulfilled his duties superbly. At times I had to remind myself that he wasn’t related to the Marleys. His vocal strength and overall stage presence was idyllic. He led the audience in many duets of songs like “No Woman, No Cry”, “Buffalo Soldier”, and “I Shot The Sheriff”. Everyone was dancing, singing along with their favorite songs, or simply just enjoying their friends’ company. It’s such a shame that it can’t always be like this. One of my favorite songs of the night was “Could You Be Loved”. It’s one of those songs that everyone knows by heart – especially for people like me who grew up listening to Bob Marley – and seeing The Wailers play it live was such a treat. People were singing along and swaying from side to side as if they were in a trance. This is what I love about live music. Everyone there shared a common admiration for Bob Marley and his music, so there was no awkwardness or hesitation about whether or not to get up on their feet and dance, everyone was doing exactly that!
Although they have gone through many iterations since the days of Mr. Marley, it was a real honor getting to finally see The Wailers live and hear so much of their catalog of incredible songs. Songs that have unquestionably helped many souls through triumphs and tribulations in each of their lives, including my own. Reggae music has always been one of those genres that has historically brought people together from all different backgrounds. It gives us permission to dance and sing along together in a way that makes us all equal. We can laugh at our differences while uncovering countless similarities. We are all one and this music provides us a pathway to realizing that objective to its fullest potential.
The Wailers still have plenty of tour dates remaining through the end of May so be sure to grab your tickets now and experience this legendary music and the mighty vibes that come with it for yourself!