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Live: Bedouin Soundclash at the Roxy

July 30, 2009 |  5:37 pm


Maybe there's something about reggae in the summer. Last night at the Roxy, Bedouin Soundclash brought the diversity -- guys with porkpie hats mingled with model-types in uncomfortable-looking shoes -- and inspired some controlled rowdiness, with one fan even rushing to stage to dance without taking off his backpack.

Fresh off tour dates with No Doubt, Bedouin Soundclash manned the stage at the Roxy with an arena poise. The act supplies amped-up reggae with a bit of an edge. Eon Sinclair pounded attitude into traditional bass lines, and the vocals of singer Jay Malinowski echoed through the entire performance, conjuring the Clash more than Bob Marley. Indeed, their influence seemed equal parts Jamaica and that of another island: Britain.

At their best, Bedouin Soundclash's influences mixed organically, taking forays into punk, soul and even alt-country with "12:59 Lullaby," a delicately flowing love song with a homey sweetness. The naturalness of its sound made up for any weaker moments. It's clear that this is a band that plays exactly what it wants without boundaries or self-consciousness. It's a Canadian reggae band, after all; contradictions shouldn't phase anybody here.

The band ended its set with “On My Block,” a song featured on the EP “Where Have the Songs Played Gone To?” The latter was released digitally last month, and was also made available in limited quantities in conjunction with the No Doubt tour. The anthem of a closer rolled out with force, with the song’s simple “na na na” chorus exploding and asserting itself between vintage horns and plucky reggae guitars.

-- Heather Robertson

Photo:  Bedouin Soundclash. Credit: Matt Barnes