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Anthony B and Junior Toots in San Francisco

Anthony B and Junior Toots in San Francisco

Anthony B and Junior Toots in San Francisco

By on - Photos by Lee Abel - Comment

Anthony B and Junior Toots light The Independent, SF Ablaze!

Anthony B and Junior Toots

‘Greeting’s in the name of his majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie, Jah Ras Tafari!’ Hearing that never really gets old, does it?

On a warm winter’s night on January 12, 2012, at San Francisco reggae hot spot, The Independent, Jah was definitely in the building.

Lighting up the night in no small fashion was Junior Toots, backed by the Fyah Squad Band, a traditional reggae 4-piece. True to their name, their riddems were locked tight, allowing Junior Toots to shine. 20 minutes into his set, we had seen three totally different looks from Toots, embodying ska, dancehall, and straight up roots reggae. Junior Toots commanded the stage, dancing and gyrating fiercely, truly connecting with the audience, as seen by the energetic call and response.

By the time he got to Physically Spiritually from his new album, ‘A Little Bit Of Love’, Toots was on fire, working every corner of the stage, his voice well warmed, yet raw, real. Junior Toots was joined on stage by Sol Atash, who sings back up on Seek The Truth in Farsi, which brought a different element to the show that was welcomed by all.

All in all, Junior Toots wowed and amazed the crowd and myself. We chanted for an encore, which unfortunately never came, but left us all wanting more, and I’m gonna get some.

The crowd filled in, chalice and spliff’s filled the air, and in true Anthony B style, he took to the stage, leaping furiously like some kind of Rasta drum major shaman, instantly whipping the packed house into a frenzy. His trademark staff flying in the air, towel in back pocket giving the crowd the gymnastic performance that is 100% Anthony B.

Out in support of his most recent album, ‘Rasta Love’, we were treated to his unique sound that transcends traditional dancehall, bordering on progressive reggae, his positive message was ever present. “With reggae music, it doesn’t matter your race, class or creed,” said the member of the Bobo Ashanti branch of the Rastafarian movement. “Rastafari spread the teachings of love and peace.” This was ever present as he swaggered into ‘Coming In Hot’. And later on we got a full dose of Anthony B’s signature power, energy and sheer madness as he ripped through a wild version of Never Wanna Lose You. Several hits from Anthony’s massive catalog rounded out the night, all skillfully laid down by his world-class band.

By the end of the set, I was tired and sweaty from ritualistically dancing for most of the night. With Anthony B’s seeming endless releases and tireless tour schedule, he has been and will be an artist to watch for some time. The man is possessed, in a good way, and to my eyes, on a higher plain. Can’t wait to hear, and see what he comes up with next. 

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