Hearing reggae songs sans vocals is always an interesting experience. But, without words to draw listeners in, interesting can’t always equal good, especially if the band lacks chemistry and forgets the cardinal rule; Riddim first. Thankfully, New York-based band Island Head gets the vibe right with Punky Reggae Party, featuring mostly a choice selection of Bob Marley covers. Blessed with a seasoned line-up of reggae and R&B vets, including drummer Billy Messinetti, keyboardist David Frank, and guitarists Andy Bassford and Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung, the band digs into classics as the title track, “I Shot The Sheriff” and the original laid-back jam “Reggae Island”. The band frequently flexes their muscles a bit on solos, but their vocal-like quality feels tasteful and natural – always rocking steady and never forgetting to keep the party going. James Haag – Relix Magazine
Island Head played to a packed SRO crowd at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY this past Saturday night. The band featured Timmy Cappello on sax and lead vocals, Andy Bassford as well as reggae legend Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung on guitars, bandleader Billy Messinetti on drums, Jeff Ganz on bass, James K. Smith on trumpet (subbing for Don Harris) and Mitch Margold on keyboards (subbing for David Frank). Both James and Mitch have played with Island Head before so the reggae groove had the right pulse!
The band played their versions of classic Bob Marley songs as performed on their album “Punky Reggae Party” as heard on SiriusXM radio The Joint. Other songs performed included “Baby I Need Your Loving” by The Four Tops, “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan and the classic “House of The Rising Sun”.
They surprised the audience with two new songs to the set. “Take Me To The River” was done uptempo to almost a ska beat. One of the most interesting arrangements was the band’s rendition of Richie Haven’s Woodstock classic “Freedom” to a soca-like groove. Timmy tore the house down with these two songs. Whew!!
Check back here at IslandHeadReggae.com for information about getting a copy of the live recording of the show.
Island Head’s next live gig is Saturday November 21, 2015 at a fantastic venue called The Falcon.
Island Head’s trumpet player Don Harris and bass player Neil Jason played The Falcon with Blues Brothers’ guitar player John Tropea. Island Head bandleader/ drummer Billy Messinetti attended the show and was very impressed with the club and the whole concept of what they have going on. Don and Billy had a conversation with owner Tony Falco. Tony said, “people say we don’t have enough reggae music or reggae bands in the club”. All agreed Island Head would be a great fit.
The band will have legendary guitarist Mikey “Mao” Chung in from Jamaica, keyboardist/producer David Frank is flying in from Los Angeles and guitarist Andy Bassford is returning that day from his tour with Jamaican Jazz pianist Monty Alexander.
Island Head will be playing their own versions of Bob Marley compositions, tracks from Jamaican Reggae Producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One Rocksteady and Reggae classics. Island Head’s bass player Jeff Ganz is a student of these classics and the bass is the foundation of those grooves. The band will also throw in some American classics with a reggae feel sung by Saxophonist Timmy Cappello. Timmy had been touring the states appearing at “Mad Monster Parties”. These are “meet and greet” conventions for fans of vampire movies. Timmy performed the theme song “I Still Believe” in the vampire movie classic “The Lost Boys” and is well-known by fans of the movie.
Tony Falco is an avid supporter of great music and fine art. There is something going on at The Falcon almost every night. Tony finds very talented and interesting acts. Besides hosting live music you can find artwork from local painters hanging on the walls that Tony encourages his patrons to purchase. Some of the finest musicians in the world have sought out The Falcon to perform there. They have a large stage suitable for a small concert hall.
Come hungry because they offer a terrific menu, fine wine and beer selections. The restaurant supports farms that practice sustainable agriculture.
We will see you there on Nov 21. Doors open at 7PM.
Click here for more information about the show: SHOW LINK