Love At First Sight With Michael Franti & Spearhead & Ziggy Marley
by terri sapp
Photographs by Leah Yetter
© Concert Sutra, All Rights Reserved
Do I believe in love at first sight? Well, not usually…until I had my first “exSpearience” with Michael Franti and Spearhead on St. Valentine’s Day followed by Ziggy Marley at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. Cupid must have been in full force all night, because I flew out of SCAD pulling arrows out of my heart.
From the time Michael Franti and Spearhead took the stage to Ziggy Marley’s grand finale, I felt everything from political consciousness to elated happiness to love to an overwhelming urge to hug a beautiful dready man. Mr. Franti must have felt the emotional overload in the house, because he kept asking, “How you feelin’?” (at least 23 times).
Michael Franti and Spearhead opened their show with “Soulshine” from “Stay Human.” It was a wonderfully upbeat start for the very beginning of my journey into Michael Franti and Spearhead. The percussionist, Roberto Quintana, stated this one off right. Just to ease right into one of their newest tracks, “What I Be” from their newest release, “Everyone Deserves Music.” What a fun song! Michael Franti has a wonderful voice, both inside and out. The harmonies are pure and the beat bounces the crowd. I love self-realizing songs. “Well, well, well.”
The third song “Pray for Grace” also from “Everyone Deserves Music” was the one that really won my ear. It burst out with a strong reggae beat, “why must I feel like this today?,” and crowd participation. I ask myself that quite often. This song rocks. The drummer, Manas Itiene, and bass player, Carl Young stole the beat of my heart on “Grace,” as did the harmonies that I didn’t quite understand at first, since there wasn’t a woman in sight. This was the first that I heard the falsettos flowing from Mr. Itiene (from what I could tell), even ending with a bit of beatbox.
Then during a break, wherein the band broke into a tease of Bob Marley’s “Mellow Mood,” Michael Franti said that this was their first time playing in Savannah, and that some folks had told him to “forget about Atlanta” because the people of Savannah love music. Well, as someone from Atlanta who was in the audience that night, I hope that is not the case, and that we (in Atlanta) see them come around soon. Onto “People in Da Middle,” which is a dirty reggae beat with more of the best harmonies from Itiene on drums, rockin’ percussion from Quintana, and a guitar solo from Dave Shul that seemed to sing itself. This song from Spearhead’s album “Home” is another that makes it impossible to pick a favorite from these guys. Continue reading