Roots of Creation served-up the perfect escape from the workweek grind, warming up the Paradise Rock Club with a lethal dosage of smash-and-grab reggae. “We’re Roots of Creation, Let’s get this party started,” bandleader Brett Wilson called out with a hand on the mic and a fist in the air. The New Hampshire-based foursome reached deep into the bag of reggae tricks during the better part of the next hour (and even tossed-in a few unusual ones to beef things up a bit). It was one of those assaults where, when the dust settles, you’re sporting a heavy buzz and have no clue how you got there so fast. Roots of Creation will do that to you.
The Paradise’s juicy mix was perfect for mid-winter reggae. Bassist Chris Beam came through the thickest, setting up a relentless backbone for the rest of the band to latch on to—drummer Mike Chadinha slid into different corners of the groove with snare crashes drenched in reverb, keyboardist Tal Pearson classed things up with a touch of organ, and Wilson constantly milked the delay pedal on guitar.
Roots of Creation may hit you the hardest with its homegrown reggae, but the band’s song structures dig deeper than the usual slow burn you get with the genre. The opening triple threat of “Woman,” “Rise Up,” and “Oh Lord,” showcased the Roots of Creation at all speeds. “Woman” came to being with a riff that Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello could have written for Evil Empire, and, just like that, settled into a lazy-dub stroll. The breakdown on “Oh Lord” featured a double-time hillbilly march, while “Rise Up,” hit the heaviest as a righteous call to arms (or call to party). There was even a groove-driven instrumental in there somewhere. You could describe the sound as disco dub (STS9 take note).
Wilson was commanding as a front man. He’d uncoil the microphone to spit verses, his arm in the air, flipping the occasional middle finger when he’d hit the appropriate line. As a lyricist he walked a fine line between the playful and the serious—“Oh Lord” could be molded into one of Slightly Stoopid’s dirtier tracks, while “Universal Soldier,” worked it’s way through the fucked-up world as if it were a Michael Franti tune.
Roots of Creation brought it home with “Peace Love and Music,” a song that dissects the history of Woodstock (from the mud in ’69 to the fires and riots in ’99). It was one last chance for the band to showoff its ability to blur the lines between jungle metal, trance, and straight-up vocal-driven dub. The band wound it all up into one last explosion, which left Wilson, alone, to chant the last words: “Revolution you can’t stop it man.” No one doubted him.