Sunday, August 24, 2014


The highlight of the first day of this year's Summer Retreat in Northampton was a great set by Dubvocaliza, from London. Returning for another appearance after storming the festival in 2013, they took to the stage (newly situated in the woods) late in the afternoon and played for what seemed like only ten or fifteen minutes--although it was really much longer than that. When Barrington and the band are at the mic, the vibes are so good you forget time, and yourself as well.

I love Dubvocaliza, if that's not obvious already. So does everybody else who sees them (everybody I've spoken to anyway). It's those classic reggae sounds, the interplay between vocalists, and the sheer stagecraft; Barrington doesn't stand still for a moment, and between songs he talks to the crowd, offering pithy inspirational messages connected to the music. Dubvocaliza are all about positivity, keeping the faith in a world ravaged by 'pirates and vultures' (the title of one of their songs); as another one says, 'the sun will shine again'--and who doesn't need to hear that with war raging all around the globe this year?

The area around the stage rapidly filled with festival goers when Dubvocaliza started their set, and despite the drop in temperature and the lack of booze, many of the audience danced all the way through the show. Even I moved a little bit, and I am the worst, most self-conscious dancer on Earth. I couldn't help it; the reggae spirit moved me. Three hours later, back at home in poetry headquarters, I'm still wondering how it's possible to have so much entertainment without even paying an entrance fee.

This is a good band, my friends. Very, very good. Find them online or go to a show when they visit your town. You'll see I'm not wrong.

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