Good vibes bounce through Union Square pub
By Jeremy F. van der Heiden
“Don’t worry, about a thing, because every little thing is going to be alright.” The immortal words of Bob Marley still tug at the heart strings of those living in these economically and socially distressful times.
The Duppy Conquerors, a Bob Marley tribute band based in Somerville, keeps the words and music of Bob Marley alive as purely as they possibly can. On Monday nights, they play free shows at The Precinct Bar in Union Square, providing a calming yet riveting atmosphere for Somerville residents to gather, dance, and unwind.
On Monday, the Duppy Conquerors played Bob Marley’s Exodus album straight through during the first set, and followed with a mixture of hits and obscurities for the second. As The Precinct filled, the turnout of both young and old took to the dance floor.
When asked why Bob Marley still stirs emotion and excitement decades after his death, saxophone player and band creator Jeff Robinson said, “Bob Marley is iconic, and in these difficult times, these hard economic times, Bob Marley’s music gives people hope.”
The band, an eclectic group of nine from all over the country and one from Barbados are united in two ways: the roots reggae of Bob Marley and Somerville.
Carol Namkoong, keyboardist and back up singer, cited how Bob Marley’s music is timeless. Drummer and backup vocalist Sarah Mendelsohn said the band began with the obscure songs, which they loved.
The band has been together for a year, and have been playing for audiences since two days after Bob Marley’s birthday in February. “Every year,” Robinson said, “we get to enjoy our anniversary right around Bob’s birthday.”
Bassist Mark Ferranti addressed how he taught himself bass to the music of Marley. “I have to play at this point,” Ferranti said. “At our first gig at Sally O’Brien’s, I looked up and noticed all these people dancing…if you can actually get people to stand up and dance, that is like a magic power.”
Lead guitarist Jonas Kahn said, “A lot of people play Bob Marley covers, but we play faithful renditions that are true to the studio recordings Bob put out.”
Lead vocalist Curtis King, an aspiring writer and soul rebel of sorts stated that playing the music of Bob Marley is “a fun and creative outlet…it uplifts the spirit.”
The crowd, equally as diverse as the band itself, enjoyed the music, dancing until the early hours of the morning and letting go of themselves to the immortal melodies of Bob Marley.
After the spot-on rendition of Bob Marley’s “Exodus,” the band played a mixed set including hits like “Is this Love,” “Could you be Loved,” and “No Woman No Cry.” Mixed in with the hits, the band played rarities like “Hammer,” an electrifying rendition of “Simmer Down” that brought the entire audience to their feet, and the classic first recording of Bob Marley’s repertoire “One Cup of Coffee.”
Staying true to the words of Bob Marley, the band’s performance proves that “one good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain.”