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I have been looking forward to seeing The Movement as a headliner for a while.  I have seen them at festivals, big stage, huge crowd, but wanted to see them in a more intimate setting, close to the crowd.  Mr. Smalls seemed to be the perfect setting.  If you don’t know about Mr. Smalls in Millvale, PA (Pittsburgh), it is located in a repurposed former 18th century Catholic Church.  Very cool setting for concerts and great sound throughout the venue.  This was the third last show in a long tour for The Movement and Tropidelic, so I was curious about their energy. 

First up was Cultivated Mind, an Italian American producer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Brand.  Cultivated Mind is a reggae, dub, jazz act from Hampton Roads, VA.  He can do it all, his performance takes the form of loop shows with drum, bass, guitar, keys, horns, vocals and live dubbing done by the maestro.  This is the first time I have ever heard Cultivated Mind, let alone hearing him live.  He put on a sweet performance, great sound, beats, riddums and vocals.  The crowd really took to his vibe and what he was bringing to our ears. So many sounds coming from one guy! I especially liked his guitar and trumpet solos, sounded so nice.

Tropidelic was next to the stage, and they did not disappoint.  Just like The Movement, I have only seen them play at festivals.  And I have to say, I like them so much better on the smaller stage close to the crowd. They bring so much energy, an energy that flows from one band member to the next, whether it is from the horns, the drums, the jumping and kicking and dancing on stage, their mix of reggae, hip-hop and funk flow so well together.  Not everyone can blend different music styles together so well, but Trop does it with ease.  As energetic as they are as a band, I think the smaller stage and being so close to the crowd only creates more energy for them. They came out to “Snow Country” to get the party started and flowed through to “Police State,” then moved to one of my favorites, “Hey Now.”  As they went through other fan favorites like “Neighborhood”, “Cali” and “New World” the crowd was so hyped, dancing along, the energy was so thick!  They then went into “DrumLine” and brought out the multiple drums, this was so amazing being so close to the stage to not only here the drum beats but feeling them in your chest.  What an experience.  They finished off the night with another great song, “Pressure.”  We all loved the energy they brought out on stage.

It was then time for The Movement.  The crowd, still flowing with the energy from Trop, was ready to get this started.  The Movement is one of those groups that you don’t realize how long they have been doing this alternative-reggae thing.  But for me, I am a relatively new Movement listener.  I have no idea why it took me so long to start listening to these guys, because they are so talented, with so many amazing songs.  Their lyrics have meaning, the songs are not just a catchy chorus or line or two.  They started the night off with a song from their latest album and tour name, “Always With Me.”  Perfect way to start off the show with the horns blowing to get it all started.  “Loud Enough” was next up, such a great song to get the crowd hyped.  It was time to cool us all down a little with “Cool Me Down.”  Next up was a crowd favorite and such a fun upbeat song, “Set Sail.”  There was not a worry in the crowd as they flowed to “No Worry.”  Crowd boppin’ up and down with the band.  So much fun watching Matt dancing, jumping and vibing all show long. 

As they flowed through each song, their energy kept getting higher and higher.  And their sound was so solid, sounded like you were listening to their album, not live.  Didn’t matter if it was Josh’s voice, Matt on keys and horn, Jason bumpin’ that baseline with Gary on drums to Kyle on percussions and sax.  So so sweet.  “Take Me To The Ocean” and “Mexico” were up next up, two of the crowds favorites.  The flow from Josh was amazing and the rest of the guys sounded perfect, the vibe was great.  One of my favorite songs of theirs was next, “Dancehall,” I love the mellow groove to this until they bring it up the tempo a few notches, even better hearing it live.  Then a little something to get us ready for summer, “Sounds Of Summer.”  I think the entire crowd was singing along with Josh. Whoa You can't live life for the weekend, Whoa when are you gonna wake up, they go onto “Orange Sky,” we are all loving each and every song they are playing.  They took us through “Break The Glass,” “Fair Warning,” “Elephant” and “High Roller” with more high energy until they came to Gary Dread coming from behind the drums to entertain the crowd and finish off the set.  What a great performance, doing his thing on the mic while Josh takes over base, Matt on guitar and Jason back on drums.  Gary had James Begin from Tropidelic come out and join him with some sweet rapping and then Cultivated  Mind stepped on stage to join in.  What an amazing way to finish off….or was it?  As they stepped off stage, we all knew we needed a few more songs.  They came back out to a sweet chill rendition of “Habit.”  I moved up to the balcony for the encore, so nice watching the crowd swaying to the rhythms and singing along.  “Redwoodz” was up next and the crowd erupted:

Some people they live their whole lives in a compound
They couldn't find any other way out now
And then they came out of it like it was so easy
They turned from a flower into a strong tree yeah

The show and night was finished off with “Siren.”  Perfect song to end the night.  My worry about seeing them so late in the tour turned out to be a blessing.  It didn’t matter they were on the home stretch of this long tour, they brought so much energy to the stage, played all the songs the crowd wanted, sounded so great, I think they just feed into the crowd and love what they are doing up there on stage.  I feel you can like a band and if you hear them live and they kill it, you end up liking and appreciating them even more, but the opposite can happen as well if you don’t like their live performance.  While I am fairly new to listening to The Movement, I really like them, but after this performance, smaller venue and up close, they have moved up a lot of notches for me, they have made me a huge fan.

-One Love



Todd Judd

Photojournalist - Pennsylvania

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