July 28, 2016 by

Spiritual Rez and Raging Fyah, two wildly different reggae bands, made their double billing a night to remember at Brooklyn Bowl on July 13, 2016. Regarded as one of Jamaica’s most promising young acts, Raging Fyah makes music in the rock reggae tradition. The critically acclaimed six piece band from Kingston has self-released two albums, Judgment Day (2011) and Destiny (2014). Both albums earned comparisons to legendary reggae outfits, such as Jamaica’s beloved Third World.

At twenty minutes after eight o’clock, only a disco ball spinning to slow reggae jams hinted at the grooves to come. The audience hung out by the bar, awaiting the late arrival of Spiritual Rez, the opening band. The band’s drummer broke the silence by lightly tapping the snare drum. Next to the lead singer, Toft Willingham, a trombone, trumpet, bass and keyboard stood front and center stage.

Spritual Rez-Brooklyn Bowl_07-13-16_photo by Ray Fontaine

Spritual Rez at Brooklyn Bowl/ photo by Ray Fontaine

Funky surfer rock reggae, reminiscent of the 1990’s ska band Sublime, floated out over the growing crowd. Over the past nine years, this six-man band has toured the United States, sharing their music and appreciation of the arts. Rooted in rock, reggae and funk, Spiritual Rez is passionate about creating an epic live experience that encourages dancing and basic human connection. At one point, the band began head banging with the audience, clearing moving towards an unexpected heavy metal sound.

After Spiritual Rez’s opening set came to an end, the stage lights shifted to Jamaican yellow, red, and green. The colors illuminated the two guitarists, two keyboard players, bassist and drummer, as the artists and their instruments began populating the stage.

Raging Fyah_Brooklyn Bowl-07-13-16_photo by Ray Fontaine

Raging Fyah at Brooklyn Bowl / photo by Ray Fontaine

“Judgment Day, ” the hit single from Raging Fyah’s most recent album, was the standout performance of the night. The lyrics, a passionate and sad story, seemingly captivated the audience while the band played shrouded as silhouettes in front of an all red background. Raging Fyah closed its set with the audience clapping in unison with those on-stage. Underneath purple floodlights, lead singer Kumar Bent screamed, “This is Raging Fyah, from Jamaica! Let’s make this love everlasting!”

“When I say Raging, you say Fyah!” he continued and the crowd chanted along, arms pumping in the air.

With a short thank you, the band humbly exited the stage but the crowd wanted more. Raging Fyah returned to the stage to play “Brave”, a haunting choice for an encore. A hush ripped through the building as the audience listened intently to powerful lyrics, such as: “I ask Mama, what is faith?”

Next time you’re looking for some true authentic Jamaican rhythm, Raging Fyah‘s live show is the place to go.