Bend, it’s time to get irie. The reggae revival returns to the city with a vengeance this weekend, with at least four major shows on the books. There’s something for everyone here, from purists to punks (seriously). Take a look:
• When Keith Richards calls your band’s signature songthe perfect reggae track, you know you’re doing something right. That song is The Itals’ “In a Dis Ya Time,” written by lead vocalist and only remaining original member Keith Porter.
The story, according to the band’s biography with booking agency Kings Music International and allmusic.com: In the mid-’70s, Porter had just wrapped a stint with Future Generation and returned to Kingston, Jamaica, seeking new sounds. Longtime friend, collaborator and future Itals bandmate Ronnie Davis passed him a tape of the riddim to his recent single “Won’t You Come Home,” and Porter was so enamored he wrote his own version. Initially released under the name Keith & Ronnie, the single became a hit and the duo rechristened themselves The Itals, adding Lloyd Ricketts to complete the lineup.
More singles followed, with the vocal group releasing its first LP, “Brutal Out Deh,” in 1982. The group continued to release records throughout the ’80s and tour into the ’90s, albeit with numerous lineups: Ricketts was first to leave in the late ’80s, followed by Davis in 1994. Today, Porter tours with his son, Darien Porter, and daughter, Kada Porter, on harmonies. The group will bring its old-school grooves to the Munch & Music stage on Thursday.
Portland’s Indubious, whose 2017 comeback album “From Zero” debuted at No. 6 on Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart, returns to Bend to open the show.
The Itals, with Indubious: 5:30 p.m. Thursday; free; Munch & Music, Drake Park, 777 NW Riverside Blvd., Bend; munchandmusic.com.
• Moving from classic to modern, Tribal Seeds will return to play the next Bend Radio Group show at Oregon Spirit Distillers on Friday.
After opening for Hawaii trio Pepper last year at the Century Center, the six-piece band has been bumped up to headliner this year. The upgrade follows the band’s Artist of the Year win at the San Diego Music Awards last year and its first new studio set in three years, the eight-song mini-album “Roots Party,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart in December.
The title is apt. These eight tracks are all about feel-good vibes, filled with psychedelic textures, laid-back grooves and hazy, lovelorn lyrics.
Tribal Seeds: 7 p.m. Friday; $20 plus fees in advance; Oregon Spirit Distillers, 740 NE 1st St., Bend; bendticket.com or 541-382-0002.
• And from modern straight into, well, this is probably just its own genre all together. Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads, a reggae-infused tribute to punk forerunners Talking Heads, returns for the third year in a row to Volcanic Theatre Pub on Saturday.
The project is the brainchild of Mystic Bowie, former toaster for Heads members Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz’s other band Tom Tom Club. Also an accomplished solo artist, Bowie has dedicated his career to bridging the musical styles of his native Jamaica with funk, punk, jam-band sensibilities and anything else in between.
Talking Dreads may be the ultimate presentation of these endeavors — a combination of reggae’s positivity and earth-shaking grooves with Talking Heads’ dark themes and angular chord progressions. The project, which features solid players from the rock and reggae worlds, launched in 2015 at the High Times Music Festival in Negril, Jamaica. A self-titled album appeared this year, and it’s worth a listen for fans of either of its two key musical ingredients.
Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads: 9 p.m. Saturday; $12 plus fees in advance, $15 at the door; Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Drive, Bend; volcanictheatre.com or 541-323-1881.
• Finally, you can catch a little taste of just about everything this genre has to offer at the Athletic Club of Bend on Wednesday. California quartet Rebelution, touring behind its eclectic seventh album “Free Rein,” released this year, will bring a mini-festival’s worth of friends to Bend, including Stephen Marley, Common Kings, Zion I and DJ Mackle.
Formed at the University of Santa Barbara in 2004, Rebelution released its breakthrough debut, “Courage to Grow,” which hit No. 4 on the Billboard Reggae Album chart in 2007. The group’s jam-heavy mix of rock and roots styles has made it a fixture on the U.S. festival circuit. “Free Rein” is a typically upbeat set showcasing frontman Eric Rachmany’s winning vocal melodies and earnest delivery.
But Stephen Marley is the artist to watch in this lineup, and no, that’s not just because of the name. The second son of Bob got his start with the Melody Makers at age 7, quickly becoming the band’s go-to instrumentalist. In the years since the band called it quits in 2002, Marley has become his family’s go-to producer, and has racked up a hefty eight Grammy Awards for production and performance. Most recently, Marley dropped the hip-hop-meets-roots extravaganza “Revelation Part II: The Fruit of Life,” a sequel to his 2011 Grammy-winning album “Revelation Part I: The Root of Life” five years in the making. Featuring cameos from rap luminaries such as Rakim, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross and Black Thought of The Roots, the album is one of the most adventurous things to come out of the genre since Marley’s dad was making records.
Rebelution, with Stephen Marley, Common Kings, Zion I, DJ Mackle: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday; doors open at 4:30 p.m.; $47.50 for general admission (plus fees online), $95.50 for dinner ticket; Athletic Club of Bend, 61615 Athletic Club Drive; clearsummernights.com or 541-385-3062.