Reggae Riddim 2005
United States of Mind
Sunday, May 29
In the '70s and '80s, my old Butler-Tarkington neighborhood was a Mecca of talented musicians such as Babyface and the world-renowned reggae drummer Professor Matthew "Fatback" Watson. Last Sunday, Fatback Watson stopped in town to play a reggae reunion show with both old and new friends at United States of Mind. The aroma of curry chicken and Jamaican patties drifted through the air Sunday evening as more than 100 people gathered to eat, dance and mingle.
Around 8 o'clock, people filed inside from Caribbean Flava's dinner tent to hear Ladies Kim and Tai give reggae renditions of R&B hits like "Tell Me Something Good."
Mystic Reign continued the show with most of the same musicians, as well as a talented singer and keyboardist. They kicked out jazzy renditions of Marley covers and some modern R&B. Though the first two groups were more jazz and fusion than roots-reggae, the crowd danced up a storm.
IRB really took things home with a more traditional island sound. Stripped down to an acoustic guitar, bass, trap-kit and flautist, who doubled on percussion, the group sounded like early '60s Wailers, complete with occasional lyrics in Patois.
Ordination and Jahnee Redlocks fused gospel for a set that blended Sunday church service with Rasta ritual.
Musicians from earlier sets joined in. Besides Fatback Watson's old bandmates, some of the night's performers included members from Blackberry Jam and Undefeatable Beats.
The night's highlight was Fatback Watson's band. From the first notes of "Jammin'," the crowd went wild. They played an hour-long set and an encore with guest musicians joining them.
The reunion proved that Indy's funk and reggae scene is more than an exhibit at the Historical Society. Those who missed out can catch Fatback Watson's Reunion Thursday at Radio Radio with the Ebony Rhythm Band.