“We’re from Rochester, New York, and we go by the name Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. We’re just one of the roots reaching out from the reggae tree all around the world.” These words spoken by James Searl after an effortless cruise through a buoyant, harmony-filled rendition of “Live And Travel,” from the band’s most recent album Make It Better. Stepping up to the mic again, Searl addressed the crowd assembled at Asbury Park’s House of Independents, stating simply, “Reggae music is about truth and justice and acceptance.” Amen to that.
Catching a Giant Panda show is a joy to behold, by all means, but to witness their energy and improvisation alongside the incredible talents of both fellow Rootfire Cooperative alumni The Movement and Jamaican-bred legend Clinton Fearon made for a truly unbelievable night of live music. The Roots to Branches tour’s second stop in Asbury Park, New Jersey saw Clinton Fearon rope the crowd in with a soulful acoustic set (not to mention his signature thousand-watt smile), Giant Panda rev up through some intense jam sessions, and The Movement bring it all home with powerful, dub-heavy tunes. Combine that with plenty of local ale and draft brews from Asbury Park Brewery, not to mention pre-concert fuel from Proven Poké Co.’s authentic Hawaiian cuisine down the street from the venue, and you have an undeniable, groove-filled evening.
Check out all the action from the night, and stay tuned in to Rootfire for all upcoming tour announcements.