Reggae Review: Shaggy with Akasha at Cubby Bear (November 20, 2014)

Winter has come early to Chicago, so a dose of Jamaican reggae is just what Wrigleyville needs.  Akasha takes the stage to start out the night.  When attempting to look up this band online, you’ll likely discover there are many bands with this name.  They should really change their name to avoid confusion.  Their sound is solid enough that it would be a shame if this technical issue prevented them from greater success.  They easily bonded with the audience singing Chicago centric lyrics that mention Humboldt Park, Austin, and Logan Square.  One of their best songs is “Start a Revolution”, which may be most the most relaxed call for revolt ever written.  After their set, the audience was definitely warmed up for a night of reggae.

After changing over the stage, the lights go out.  A Bob Marley songs begins playing and almost everyone brings out their cellphones to prepare for Shaggy’s entrance.  The DJ switches to another Bob Marley track.  And then another.  He goes on to sample almost the entire “Legend” album before throwing in some modern hits like Magic’s “Rude”.  Finally, the band minus Shaggy takes the stage.  They play a reggae beat with riffs of Shaggy’s biggest hits thrown in.  Is this a promo for a reality show?  Could they drag out his entrance any longer?

Finally, Shaggy takes the stage! Early on he teases with singing each line of Boombastic followed by a long pause.  It begins to seem like a hip hop show where the singer never actually sings but just yells the choruses.  But then he launches completely into the song and the audience rejoices.  Later on, his co singer joins him on stage and they proceed to pit the left side of the crowd against the right side.  It goes back and forth a few too many times, creating a feeling of a rap battle.  They truly are merging many different styles into this show.

A new song begins with a familiar riff.  It’s his biggest hit, “It Wasn’t Me”. He stops the song midway to talk about famous cheaters.  He says, don’t do it the way Tiger Woods did.  Follow the footsteps of the greatest, Bill Clinton. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”  If you couldn’t already tell from this song, Shaggy has a great sense of humor and it was greatly displayed repeatedly during his set and he goofed around with the crowd.  He was having a joyous time and the crowd was more than happy to be transported to his Jamaican party for a fantastic Thursday night show.

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