After a cancelled appearance earlier this year, Chronixx and his Zinc Fence Redemption Band finally make their New York debut! In July of 2013, Chronixx was slated to make an appearance at the world renowned Sounds of Brazil Restaurant (S.O.B.’s) Due to circumstances beyond that of the artiste and promoters, this did not happen. Fast forward to September 17, 2013 and it’s going down!
The Billing: Chronixx & The Zinc Fence Band “START A FIRE” – US TOUR! With Special Guest: KELISSA
It’s 10:15 pm on a cool, comfortable New York night and I get to S.O.B.’s for a night I soon learned I’d never forget. I’m a bit tired from lack of sleep and long day’s journey but I am anxious to hear this phenomenal artiste, whose music I was introduced to.
It’s now 10:41 pm…The crowd is alive and anxiously awaiting the arrival of Chronixx. The band takes to the stage as the DJ riles up the crowd with his early juggling. Playing to a sold out crowd (all I could see was a sea of faces). The Zinc Fence Redemption Band takes its position onstage, playing a few warm-up tracks when none other than Rob Kenner takes to the stage to get the proceeding started. He greets the audience and we are well aware that there are many dignitaries from the music industry present. However, Rob does a profound thing when he tells us that despite whom he sees in the audience (by way of dignitaries) “Everybody is important in here tonight, as we bring back Reggae into S.O.B.’s.” ~~ (R.K.)
The band is awesome, but it’s Showtime! Enter stage left, a very petite woman. With her waif-like demeanor, she takes to the stage, opens her mouth and proceeds to belt out her first note with the strength of what can only be described as a buxom Blues Balladeer.
Loving you from a distance…. If you take me in your arms…I’ll be the best love you ever had! (With guitar in hand) she belts out her first track entitled “Best Love”. Her next song was delivered with a sentimentality that exuded sensuality and love. One could see that it truly meant something to her. The track was entitled “Afrika”. “They can’t take away what is in our DNA…. Afrikaaaa …mama mama) I love you Afrika! How can you reject the place where human life began?”
“Babylon Bridge is burning down….Babylon is burning!” she sang with conviction. “Babylon is Burning” was the track that followed. She had an attentive audience before, but by the time she started this one, they were mesmerized. She had everyone’s attention. This was followed by the track “Gideon”. Another powerful rendition—delivering refreshing music, taking us back to message music. She finished her set—leaving the stage with the strains of “We Don’t Need No More Trouble!”
Kelissa’s set was well received and was just a prelude of what was to come……
STAR TIME: CHRONIXX
The band strikes up a chord, indicating that it is now indeed…STAR TIME!
Much like the late Dennis Emmanuel Brown who had that wikid intro to his performances….. “Here I Come…” I was being stereotypical in my perception (having never seen Chronixx in performance) of what was to come; as I expected to hear him enter belting out “Here Comes Trouble….Here Comes the Danger”. Instead I hear what sounds like…”PREPARE” or “REPENT!” To this day I don’t know what he said, as the crowd roared something thunderous when the man of the hour entered center stage. The tempo then changes drastically with the introduction of some spirited drumming, synonymous with that of African tribal sounds—infused with a heavy bass beat.
As the roar subsides Chronixx sings…“Do you remember the days of slavery?” The crowd erupts once more; they are on fire! There is a musical interlude as the band goes into some serious dubwise. The artiste has an awesome rapport with his band. Not only is he singing and they’re playing, but they are having fun—enjoying what they do. They clearly have a passion for what they’re doing. They are so in sync –it’s unbelievable. I have not seen this caliber of synchronization in a long time; which leads me to believe that there has been much rehearsal among people who are serious about their craft.
The next selection proves to be an extended version that elicits an even more intimate connection with his audience. The song is interspersed with some profound commentary by Chronixx.
“Tribal war….No peace inna war….they don’t know what they’re fighting for” In speaking about the anniversary of 9/11, he sympathized with the situation; however, his question to the audience was this:
“What caused those men to get on those planes and come to destroy innocent lives? The nation that you live in is not an innocent one. There’s no peace! Even the soldiers don’t know what they’re fighting for.”
One can truly see that this young man is genuinely perturbed by the state of our world.
They don’t know, they don’t know, they don’t know what I feel inside.
They don’t know…they see me smile, but they don’t know what I feel
By this time, the audience is passionately singing this chorus in a resounding oneness. With the same solemnity in his tone he goes on to say:
“’Coming into Manhattan I saw a cemetery that looks just like the city.
It’s a sign! You have to pass a cemetery before you get here!”
The song brought about moments of introspection and caused the audience to identify and perhaps admit some truths that were quite visible but clearly overlooked. It was a profound song to which so many could identify. This was followed by another uplifting track…“Ain’t No Giving In”. It is so encouraging to see such a young man delivering music with that essence that we so yearn for. The depth to this young man is truly phenomenal. He epitomizes the essence of the Reggae sound; much the same way that a Bob Marley did, a Peter Tosh, the founding fathers…a Clive Tenors, a Derrick Morgan and many others who fought to bring real music to the masses.
He carried on his set by singing the chorus of an old Marvin Gaye hit, putting his own twist on it…
“Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby, ain’t nothing like the real thing!
Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby…Don’t take my love for granted!”
The harmony on this was so ‘tight’, it was unbelievable! My little heart was pounding out of my chest as I basked in delight at all I had heard thus far.
After singing songs like “My Woman” and “See Her Face” he once more riled the crowd up with “Smile Jamaica”; a sweet, sensuous ballad about this ‘girl’ named Jamaica. It was a nostalgic moment where he reminded us of our island home (making me quite homesick at this point). This is where he surprises the audience by asking who told us we could take his picture and be sending it out to Facebook and Instagram as he spoke? The crowd burst out laughing even more when he in turn had someone from his band take a picture/video of him saying hello to all those on Instagram! Then it was time to do it inna militant style with “Selassie Souljahz”—his collaboration with Sizzla Kalonji, Protoje and Kabaka Pyramid. THEN….all I heard was “Here Comes Trouble Here Comes the Danger”! I was railing…gun fingers up in the air and all a that! I was definitely not out of place because everybody all over the room was doing pretty much the same thing I was. After hearing that, I was satisfied—I could have gone home, but it was not over yet!
“Mi nah duh wha Babylon waan mi duh…All wen a mi alone a
wear pants pon waist, mi nah follow nobody, and when the whole
Jamaica bleach dem face…an wen a me alone a sing righteous
song…mi nah follow nobody”. ~~Chronixx
After singing “Odd Ras” the stakes went even higher. At 12:10 am–enter stage right, the incomparable Barrington Levy. They went ‘chune fi chune’ alternately with Levy singing Chronixx tunes while Chronixx sang Levy tunes. We heard songs like “Too Experienced”, “Rosie”, “Odd Rass”, then Barrington closed that set singing “Black Roses”. That to me was a profound choice as it was saying that as the black rose is special, so too is Chronixx in the world of music. An endorsement so to speak! On Levy’s departure from the stage Chronixx closed the show singing “Rivers of Babylon” for an audience who were sated by a rich meal of conscious, uplifting Reggae music. It’s 12:15 am and Chronixx exits the stage to resounding applause.
New York was fed with a long overdue portion of real music from an artiste extraordinaire and an exceptional band. He had the crowd railing from start to finish. From outstanding lyrical content to seamless transitions between numbers Chronixx had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands. Needless to say, from this performance, Chronixx’s New York debut was a resounding success!