Skip to main content

For one evening at least, North Truro became the center of the reggae universe.

NORTH TRURO – Under a starry sky – and the Payomet Performing Arts Center’s sparkling new tent – the Wailers played a deep-track, danceable show to a Sunday evening sold-out crowd. For one evening at least, North Truro became the center of the reggae universe.

The current edition of the Wailers – Bob Marley’s former band – features founding member Aston “Family Man” Barrett on bass; his son Aston Jr. on drums; Andres Lopez on keyboards; Junior Jazz on lead guitar; and the charismatic Josh Barrett on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, plus two superb female back-up singers whose names this reviewer could not catch.

The Wailers’ first set was a track-by-track re-creation of 1979′s “Survival” album.

“This is a special treat,” Josh Barrett said. “The 40th anniversary of one of Bob Marley’s greatest albums.”

This statement was not hyperbole. Song after song – “So Much Trouble,” “Zimbabwe,” “Africa Unite,” and “Wake Up and Live,” among them – flowed with rhythmic ease, resulting in a dance floor that was packed and moving the entire show.

The band’s sound is so full and rich that at times it was hard to believe that only five instrumentalists were on stage. Aston Jr. is a crisp, propulsive drummer, while his father is one of the greatest and most influential bassists of the 20th century. Lopez’ keyboards perfectly punctuated each song. Junior Jazz’s lead guitar work at times dripped with Memphis soul. And Josh Barrett, dreadlocks flying, stabbing at his guitar strings, was the embodiment of Bob Marley’s style and soul.

After a short intermission, the Wailers returned to play a second set of Marley’s beloved hits, which brought the audience’s dancing and singing along to fever pitch. A favorite moment for this reviewer was a ravishing version of “No Woman, No Cry.”

With an expanded dance floor and spanking new stage, Payomet is clearly ready for yet another season of world-class musical acts. The Wailers were stunning in their musicianship and heart. For any Cape Cod reggae fans kicking themselves for missing this show, cheer up: Toots and the Maytals will be performing at Hyannis’ Melody Tent this Saturday, and tickets are still available.

Photo by Charla Harvey

Originally posted at

Leave a Reply