October 17, 2004
Steel Pulse was the perfect midday band Sunday afternoon at Voodoo Fest in City Park. Their repetitive reggae rhythms lulled me to sleep as I rested in the shade. When I woke up, they were still playing. Steel Pulse was one of the few bands allowed an hour and a half set at the festival. Since they've been around in one form or another since 1975, they deserved some seniority.
The Birmingham, England group played a mix of roots reggae and contemporary reggae. Per usual for the genre, the bassist was the most important member of the band. The bass sound was almost subsonic, and it was the music's anchor. Still, I didn't need that bass solo. Unless you're Victor Wooten, it's a no-no. Also, half the time I couldn't understand what the lead singer was saying. I did catch something about weapons of mass destruction. This song turned out to be "No More Weapons," off their 2004 album, "African Holocaust." It's nice to see an old band singing about current issues instead of relying on nostalgia.
Steel Pulse got a good amount of people out to their show, and most of them were dancing. Which is the point, right? It was dance music. Not rocket science. It should be no surprise many of the songs sounded the same. Here's to feel good music with a conscience.