Mikey Dread at the Ashkenaz Community Center, Berkeley, California

by

November 19, 2000

The legendary Mikey Dread was at the controls November 19th at Berkeley’s Ashkenaz (visit www.ashkenaz.com), backed by the solid roots sounds of Wadi Gad and Jahbandis. Opening the show was the Bay Area’s own Wadi Gad, who heated up the dance with his original brand of conscious reggae. At midnight, Wadi Gad put down the microphone and took to the drum kit to lay the foundation for one of the most influential innovators in Reggae music, Michael “Dread” Campbell.

Mikey got things started with the lover’s rock classic, “S.W.A.L.K.,” followed by the humorous, “Barber Saloon-Haircut,” a number one hit in Jamaica and the UK. After the first two songs it was clear that the musicians on stage were having as much fun as the people on the dance floor and that we were all in for a night of best sellers. Mikey kept it coming with “Choose Me” (a Reggae version of Barbara Lynn’s R&B hit “You’ll Lose a Good Thing”), accompanied by “The Source (of your Divorce).”

In 1989, Mikey Dread’s open-minded approach to Reggae attracted the attention of independent production comrades KRS-ONE and Sidney Mills, who produced “The Source (of your Divorce)” for Boogie Down Productions, helping to bridge the gap between hip-hop and Reggae. In his trademark deep voice Mikey shouted out to the Ashkenaz crowd, “I want to give you some of the best I’ve got to share with you tonight,” and undeniably he was giving us some of the best. Nearing the end of the night Mikey played some songs off of his new limited edition CD, “World Tour,” a fresh sounding CD that keeps in the tradition of the classic Mikey Dread sound (visit www.mikeydread.com).

It wasn’t until the very end of the show that he played “Warrior Stylee” and “World War III” off of the “Beyond World War III” record. Mixed by Mikey Dread and Scientist at King Tubby’s studio and backed by the Roots Radics, this 1981 release is arguably Mikey’s best recording and one of the best records in Reggae. What a night. Big respect due to Wadi Gad and Jahbandis (sound clips http://www.dubmusic.com/z/index.html) for the rough and tough roots sound and for making the Mikey Dread show possible. Big Up!

 




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