Material: Touring in support of their fifth release, Falling Into Place, Rebelution (formed in 2004 by college friends) has grown over the past decade by emphasizing the need for collective good spirit with a maturing world view. Delivering a modern take on reggae, straightahead rock and alt-rock songs are housed in reggae arrangements that deal positive messages of good will, dedication to self-improvement and personal freedom.
Best underscored in “Feeling Alright,” one of the most memorable and contagious originals, is a self-soothing ode that captures our universal quest to keep pressing on in spite of life’s tribulations: “In a moment I’ll be on my way to better days—well life is changing. And even though I’ve had my share of pain, I’m sympathizing and realizing...” A testament to their staying power is the participation of their audience, who sang along to this song from their first album.
Musicianship: Rachmany’s versatility on guitar demonstrated his ability to seamlessly alternate between rock, reggae and acoustic feels (though most songs wind up in reggae mode). His tenor vocals are effective but unadorned and they never overshadow the band, nor are they overwhelmed by them. The core group provide a solid foundation, while the additional players on sax and trumpet contribute more color and drama with their over-the-top solos.
Performance: There was great anticipation, which erupted into jubilant cheers when Rebelution took the stage; enthusiasm that never waned during the show. The crowd seemed familiar with a good part of the set list, often providing impromptu backup vocals. Though the songs were varied, stylistically the treatment was relatively unchanged. A welcome respite came when Rachmany pulled out his steel string acoustic guitar and proceeded to play the intro to Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” before segueing into the catchy and gripping “Feeling Alright.” The entire performance was elevated by superb lighting and sound.
Summary: If music is a panacea for our ills, then Rebelution offers a potential antidote to intolerance and indifference. A stronghold of their success lies in their tireless touring, which has evolved into a top-notch live show that draws a loyal fan base. Rebelution could up the ante with more songs that transcend the reggae framework, propelling this band even further.
The Players: Eric Rachmany, guitar, lead vocals; Wes Finley, drums, background vocals; Rory Carey, keyboards, melodica; Marley D Williams, bass; Zach Meyerowitz, trumpet, guitar; Mike Eyia, sax, keyboards.
Photo by Mark Shiwolich
Venue: Gramercy Theater
City: New York, NY
Rebelution - "Upper Hand"
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