Canada’s premier reggae-rock band, Bedouin Soundclash, paid a visit to The Town Ballroom June 11th, 2011, tired from months of touring the globe, but ready to perform for their neighborly fans in Buffalo, New York, regardless. Bedouin has been quite a success up north, with recent heavy radio-play in the area, and multiple headlining shows. Buffalo, being so close to the boarder, has also grown to be a strong fan base for the band, as thousands poured in for an evening of upbeat energy and sun-drenched tunes.
The band, consisting of Jay Malinowski on guitar and vocals, Eon Sinclair on bass, and newest member Sekou Lumumba on drums, walked out on stage all smiles, each dressed entirely in black. The crowd was eager to get moving, and the band obliged, playing multiple hits with only a sparse mixture of tracks off their new album, Light the Horizon. All together, seventeen songs were performed, with a two song encore. Seven songs came off of Horizon.
Interestingly, the crowd responded the strongest to some of their oldest material, off of 2001’s Root Fire and 2004’s Sounding a Mosaic, even though their most commercially successful material to date has come off of 2007’s Street Gospels, which when released, had been nominated for multiple awards, and even produced a #1 single in “St. Andrews” on Canadian major market radio stations. Songs “Shadow of a Man,” “When the Night Feels My Song,” “Living in Jungles,” and “National Waters” seemed to be the biggest hits with fans, producing the most dancing and loudest applause. That is, other than the band’s reggae cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” which received an ocean of singalong voices, and the last song of the night, “Nothing to Say,” also with a ton of crowd participation.
Jay dedicated songs to regrettable tattoos and his tremendous fans, and made a special shout-out to any Rude Boys in the crowd (a term used to describe dedicated ska fans.) He didn’t let these special fans down, either, giving a performance of the Toots and the Maytal’s classic “54-46 That’s My Number,” made even more popular years ago when covered by Sublime.
Bedouin Soundclash was on top of their game when delivering their dance-inducing jams, and only slowed down a little when switching over to a couple of their more relaxed songs, such as “12:59.” While the crowd seemed a little less interested at these points, they were rewarded for their patience with plenty of exciting moments. Take for example, the drum solo by recently adopted Soundclash member Sekou Lumumba. The last of a dying breed, Sekou can be considered a true “session drummer,” as he has stepped in to play drums for a wide number of bands, sometimes for a tour, other times for the recording of a record. He seemed comfortable and in control with his new reggae outfit, delivering what was easily the most memorable event of the evening, when, mid-song, Jay and Eon stepped off stage and allowed their drummer to strut his stuff. After getting the crowd riled up and excited, Sekou proceeded to play with only one hand, as he used the other to remove a cymbal from its stand. Once accomplished, he held it high above his head, and continued to play with only one available arm, striking the hand-held cymbal at opportune times. The crowd went nuts.
Although Jay and his gang only played for about an hour and a half and had finished up by 11pm, It didn’t seem as though anyone was disappointed with the show. During that time, Bedouin Soundclash had managed to pull off a tight set full of crowd pleasing favorites, and ended on a tremendous high note after finishing “Nothing to Say”, apparently well aware of how to leave their audience satisfied. As they stated their happiness to finally be back in a city that would be airing the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoff game, Bedouin Sounclash left the stage of their last show on their tremendously long tour, ready for, and well deserving of, their rest that lay ahead back in Canada.
Written by: Dean Goranites