All Jah Children Overstand I-Heights
Aldo Fonticiella
5/7/2006 5:23:29 PM

Have you ever heard the expression "one love?" Ever consider what it means? To have faith in Rastafari is personal conviction conceived inna ya heart. So there is no question why these can skank with the best of them, even if they may not fit the reggae stereotypes. Venice Cafe is definitely an artisans sanctuary. The decorative stylings are so eclectic from the moment that one walks through the door they are bombarded with colorful mosaics, paintings, and other random memorabilia. All of which are tastefully decorating the entire venue from the floor, across the table tops, then unto the ceiling. The stage area is actually extremely tiny with a full bar against the back wall and then there is about ten feet until one you are stumbling over the top of the monitors and through microphone stands. There is most beautiful patio area complete with live foliage, cascading waterfall and a Koi pond.

At 10 pm the stage was set and ready to go as locals started to arrive for their pub-crawl. The opening act was Jah Roots. These people are so unique when it comes to their style. The music is most definitely reggae, although their influences are so interesting: add a little bit of dancehall, lover’s rock and jam band. Then, add a whole bunch of roots rock and shake it just so. Then, maybe you could possibly start to comprehend the phenomenon that is Jah Roots. The lead singer and rhythm guitar, Ras Josh, has one of the most soothing voices ever, compelling everyone to sing along with the band. On auxiliary percussion is another Josh, whose rhythmic interpretations are outstanding. Grant too, that the saxophonist is nothing less than a rock star. On bass to keep the grooves steady was Stephen. Let us not forget the riddim keeper who delivered on the beats, drummer, Eric.

Badda Skat took the stage at about 11p.m. Unfortunately, some technical difficulties at with his microphone got him off on a rough start. But this was only a minor set back Mike, the multitalented keyboardist and guitarist for Jah Roots, had the problem fixed in no time. Either way it did not seem to bother the crowd, as they were busy skanking. As soon as Badda's consciousness filled ragamuffins were heard, the audience’s reaction was immediate: almost everyone took to dancing and jumping all over the place. Badda Skat’s style is dancehall, like many of the more popular dancehall artistes such as Buju Banton, Capelton, and Sizzla Kalongi. Badda’s lyrics are most definitely roots. That means it easy for anyone to shake their pum pum to rhythms while the MC fills the air with reasoning and examples of the Rastaman. Badda’s voice is very similar to that of Red Rat, and his lyrics are a very personal account of his overstanding of Rastafari. Spitting lyrics like “All verbal and non-physical,” he expressed his sentiments on presenting himself as child of Jah to the rest of the world by his example. Songs performed that deserve special mention are, “Words, Sound, and Power,” a song about the how strength of the Rasta is founded in wisdom and humility not violence or destruction. “Labba Labba,” a song dedicated to the teachings and history of Rastafari, never mind what the “shitstem” say. Thirdly, “Country Gal” a song dedicated to wombmen with their cleanliness and strength. As Badda continued to forward his way through his Saint Louis debut, the audience became more and more appreciative jumping higher. There was even some drunken guy who yelled out, “Not bad for a bunch of white boys!” Nonetheless, this did not deter the group’s efforts to successfully pull the vibes and deliver a wonderful show. Sadly, there are only a few more tour dates left to catch Badda with Jah Roots. Although if you are still hungry for more things Badda, you can find him playing venues in his town of St. Petersburg, FL. In addition, Badda Skat is currently promoting his new album The Seven Seals [self released].You can check it on and you can find him on My Space as well.

Pictured: Badda Skat Photo by Dave Foresman


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