Bringing peace and love, Steel Pulse returns to Crystal Bay
“It is a pity. That things are so shitty. Cause man is so greedy . To the poor and needy. Too much iniquity. Better run from the city. It’s about to fall. Things are so haunted. It is not what Jah wanted. Gave us his love. And was so disappointed. Throw down the gauntlet. Hear the sound of the trumpet. It’s The Final Call.”
Thank Jah for reggae, and for its enduring ambassadors, Steel Pulse, which has delivered the message for more than four decades. In 1975, the band was born in the inner city Handsworth area of Birmingham, England.
Steel Pulse is touring in support of the new album “Mass Manipulation,” its first studio release in 15 years. On Wednesday, Oct. 9, that tour stops at Crystal Bay Casino Lake Tahoe with an 8 p.m. performance in the Crown Room. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 on the day of show, with a free Red Room after-party by The Umpires. Guests at both shows must be 21.
“In the midst of today’s strife and turmoil, ‘Mass Manipulation’ is Steel Pulse’s indispensable musical gift, as their 40 year legacy continues to define the magnificent power and beauty of reggae music,” the band’s press materials note.
“As reggae revolutionaries, Steel Pulse is revered by the younger generation of artists and remains a powerhouse on stages around the globe. Through the example of ‘Mass Manipulation,’ Steel Pulse demonstrates the endless possibilities that come from breaking down the walls of systemic greed and nurturing the fellowship of mankind.”
The reggae warriors also visited Crystal Bay on July 27, 2016. Here’s a look back at that show:
David “Dread” Hinds has a Steel Pulse.
The frontman and founding member of the enduring reggae band was an irie bundle of energy when Steel Pulse delivered 90 minutes of social commentary in song to a record-sized crowd in Crystal Bay’s newly renovated Crown Room.
Roaring louder than a reggae lion, fans were all about it, providing backing vocals to familar songs. Concertgoers ranged from twentysomethings to seasoned seniors who have imbibed in the band’s vibes for decades. The musicians drew from their entire catalogue, delivering an 11-song, hour-long first set and a four-song encore.
It almost wasn’t so. Hinds survived a serious bout with pneumonia last winter. Steel Pulse canceled a January appearance at Cargo Concert Hall in Reno when Hinds was hospitalized. It didn’t resume touring for almost two months.
“We almost lost him,” keyboardist Selwyn Brown told Tahoe Onstage before the show. Brown has been singing and playing alongside Hinds since 1977, two years after Steel Pulse was formed. Ten years later the band became the first non-Jamaican group to win a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
A happy and rasta-strong Hinds was all over the stage from the get go, sometimes playing the rhythm guitar, sometimes singing without, and even adding more cowbells to one tune. He danced with Brown and with backup vocalist Keysha McTaggart, rarely standing still. He directed traffic during high-powered solos by saxophone/clarinet player James Johnson, lead guitarist David “Cirious” Elecciri and 5-string bassist Amlak Tafari. Wayne “C#” Clarke played drums inside a sound-protected fortress and was flanked by keyboardist Sidney Mills and percussionist Hashim “Scorpion” Russell.
Reggae bands often implore fans to “get your hands in the air,” but when Steel Pulse repeated “I’ve got my hands up,” the lyrics were accompanied by “I can’t breathe” and “don’t shoot,” referring to the 2014 death of Eric Garner during an arrest by police in Staten Island, New York City.
“Don’t Shoot” came during the encore, and the well-packed, sweaty crowd understood the context. “Steppin Out” followed, “Here comes the Rastaman — catch me if you can.” The close came time for a call to a “Taxi Driver,” but the cab refused to stop and pick up the dudes with dreads.
The band passed out set lists to some lucky ladies at the end of the show, and Selwyn Brown lingered a bit to take of pictures of the satisfied Crystal Bay Club crowd: “Peace and Love. See you next time.”
— Randy Hashagen
ABOUT Randy Hashagen
Tahoe Onstage copy chief Randy Hashagen, a former Bay Area journalist, walked away from his career to become a crazy cab driver. He's still barnstorming, but his wing-walking days are over. Lately, he has been watching the world flow through Lake Tahoe since 2012.