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As we headed over for Day 2 of RRU the weather reports were not looking great, hot with thunderstorms, but were too exited to worry too much about it.  It was a day filled with a lot of firsts of bands/artists I have never seen before (but excited and curious to hear them), or in the case of Collie Buddz, first time seeing him since 2009. Damian Marley and The Movement being the others I have seen before, multiple times.  But most excited to see them both perform along with Collie.  RRU took place at the same location as last year, but things were slightly better in the second year.  Extra water station for the VIP area, entering seemed easier, great vendors and great volunteer and security staff,  the Detroit style pizza in the VIP tent is so good as was the Jamaican Patties (but mine are a little better).  I love the variety of merch vendors, I always buy at least one shirt, but totally forgot to grab one this year.  For the most part, the rain held off beside a few sprinkles throughout the day, but it was hot and balmy.

Starting the day off on the Vibe Stage was Massachusetts own Crooked Coast with their blend of punk, rock, reggae, and hip hop.  They didn’t have quite the crowd as the day 1 local bands, but plenty of people showed up to enjoy their set.  Their drummer is absolutely crazy and amazing. Starting off on the Rise Up Stage was Fubar, hailing from Western Pennsylvania, making a name in the rock-reggae-punk world.  The crowd loved their lively performance, a nice way to start off the main stage.  Cydeways was next up on the Vibe Stage, and I think they may have been one of the crowds favorites of the day.  First time seeing them, I was impressed. I can see why Matisyahu and G. Love have them opening for them on their tour.  Originally From Boston, the now California based band has a signature alt-reggae pop-punk energy that is so exciting to see on stage.  They have not been around very long, but are ready to hit it big.  Moving back over to the Rise Up Stage was Joe Samba, hailing from Charleston, SC with his nice smooth voice and a sweet Hawaiian reggae vibe.  His band is fantastic and flows so nicely with Joe’s guitar and voice.  Crowd was bouncing!  The previous day we had a fantastic performance by Stick, and today we had K-Bong and Johnny Cosmic with so much love and energy over on the Vibe Stage.  This also had to be one of the crowds favorite performances of the day.  And while I have seen them with Stick many times over the years, this was the first time seeing them with their band.  They were so good, my favorite of the day to this point, just so much energy and good vibes.  Could K-Bong smile any bigger?

One I was really waiting for was coming to the Rise Up Stage, Bermuda’s own, Collie Buddz.  When I saw him in 2009 he was still fairly new to the reggae world and wow has he grown so much over the years.  As a song writer and producer he has grown so much, but his stage presence is amazing.  As he strolled out on stage his mic was not working, but he just hammed it up for the crowd until they got it working.  He sounded so good and his band is amazing, especially bassist Shawn “Mr Roots” Mitchell and guitarist Ronny Gutierrez.  So entertaining and so solid.  I could have sat and listened to Collie for another hour, felt so good getting to hear him again after all these years.  It was time for a little hip-hop on the Vibe Stage with Cleveland’s Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.  I was surprised at how much the crowd was into and loving their performance, rapping right along with them.  Along with their hit songs they did a nice tribute to Easy-E and really had the crowd when they went into Notorious Thugs and their tribute to Biggie.  The biggest surprise for me was Citizen Cope, I really didn’t know much about him at all, only listening to a few songs the week before RRU, and to be honest, not really getting into his music.  But he sounded really good, and I caught myself sitting there and listening and grooving to his vibe.  It really caught me by surprise, but not the crowd, they were into it right from the start.

It was time for the Vibe Stage headliner, The Movement.  They performed last year at RRU and I got to see them on their tour in their stop in Pittsburgh.  They are quickly becoming one of my favorite bands to listen to, watch and photograph.  So many good songs and such amazing performers.  They did not disappoint, and even though so many were waiting for Damian Marley, they didn’t worry about saving their spots, almost everyone came over to the Vibe stage to groove with The Movement.  Super cool when K-Bong joined Gary Dread on stage, still with so much energy (I think K-Bong was on stage for half the performances the first two days). They may say in Orange Sky, you can’t live for the weekend, but I think that is what each and every one of us were doing this weekend.  It was time to finish off the day with the performer I was most excited to see, even though I have seen him many times, Damian “Jr Gong” Marley.  One of my top reggae artists, his performances are an experience for me not just great songs, so much meaning and feelings.  Zilla put on such an amazing performance, which is not a surprise, but he doesn’t ever disappoint and seems to get better and better every time.  He went into a little speech about his medication before performing Medication, a song where the entire crowd sang along word for word, I LOVE YOU MARY JANE!  I know the crowd always loves when a Marley does Bob songs, those are the songs we all love and for most of us, Bob is what got us hooked on reggae.  It is an amazing feeling listening to the crowd sing right along with Damian.  But listening to him do his own songs, the songs I love, sends chills down my spine.  His band is so good, the background singers have amazing voices and man can they move and we cannot forget Flagman Judah!  I have heard Welcome To Jamrock so many times, heard him do it live so many times, but it hits so hard, not one person standing still, Out in the streets they call it Merther…… You never get sick of it.  What a perfect way to finish off Day 2!


One Love- Todd

Todd Judd

Photojournalist - Pennsylvania

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