Let’s be clear The Blue Note Hawaii is NOT exclusively a jazz venue. Besides bringing some of the top jazz artists to the island and showcasing Hawaii’s best entertainers, the venue occasionally presents reggae concerts. In cooperation with radio station Island 98.5, artists such as The Wailers, Third World, and Morgan Heritage have played multiple shows on Oahu. On this Thursday one of England’s finest toasters, Pato Banton would grace the stage.
As a youngster Pato Banton would assist his step father, a Jamaican DJ. Soon enough he was entertaining audiences and became the most popular DJ in Birmingham, England. His popularity gained him guest appearances on tracks by The English Beat and UB40. Banton’s first album, Mad Professor Captures Pato Banton was released in 1985. After a number of acclaimed discs, in 1994 Banton reunited with UB40’s Robin and Ali Campbell to record Eddy Grant’s “Baby Come Back” which climbed to the top of the British charts. By this time Banton had toured alongside reggae legends Ziggy Marley, Third World, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear and others. After years of touring Pato had secured his spot as one of reggaes best live performers.
This was evident as Banton and The Now Generation set foot onstage. The Blue Note is not your typical reggae venue. Usually attendees are seated at nice tables with servers. Immediately Banton declared that jazz was not going to be played and everyone should be standing up and dancing. Songs such as “Go Pato” and “Bubbling Hot” kept every one of their feet. Pato kept a dialogue with the crowd on topics including current events and spiritual awareness. The audience was asked to place their hands on their hearts, take that energy, turn to the stranger next to them, and slap them a high five, transferring that interpersonal energy.
Banton’s vocal delivery ranged from melodic to dancehall, all the time keeping the positive vibes front and center. The Now Generation featuring Gavin Thompson (bass), David Gomez (guitar), Antoinette Rootsdawtah Hall (keyboards), and Damien Swan (drums) were fine-tuned and powered through “Don’t Sniff the Coke,” “Legalize It,” and “King Step.” The audience was actively engaged with the band throughout the night. The band, which does not have a set list, took requests from the audience, invited young audience members to dance on stage, and twice brought audience members on stage to sing along with the band.
An upbeat vibe and positive message emphasizing spirituality brought a sense of peace and joy to the fans. By the time the encore “Never Give In” concluded, Pato Banton and The New Generation cemented their legendary status with the crowd.
(Unknown) / Stay Positive / Bubbling Hot / Go Pato / GWARN / Don’t Sniff The Coke / King Step / Legalize It / Love Is The Greatest Thing / Redemption Song / Love Sweet Love / Absolute Perfection/ (Unknown) / Never Give In