From the heavy bass guitar presence found in traditional reggae music to the high intensity of electronic music to the dance-friendly beats of funk, it’s about time John Brown’s Body (JBB) created their own genre of music. With a sound so unique and raw compared to their reggae counterparts in the music industry, JBB’s self-named sound “Future Roots Music” has gained the band quite a following.
On Sunday night, the members of JBB left their mark on San Luis Obispo, performing in the newly renovated SLO Brew. The band kept the crowd engaged throughout the show by playing old favorites, as well as an eclectic mix from their recently released album, “Fireflies.”
The open environment of SLO Brew provided the ideal atmosphere for those looking to groove to the reggae beats, which many attendees did. Before JBB hit the stage, the floor was filled with people. Immediately during the first song, the small groups of people chatting dissipated into a sea of foottappers and hipshakers.
JBB’s setlist for Sunday night created a crescendo effect, as the band started with lower intensity compositions such as “33 Rpm,” which showed off the band’s magnificent three-piece horn section and ended with fan favorites from their newest album.
The band’s supreme stage presence can mainly be credited to their history. Hailing from Ithaca, New York, JBB has been creating music together for nearly two decades. The band’s chemistry was undeniable and added to the show.
“We’ve been together for a while, so the interaction between the musicians on stage is at a pretty high level,” JBB drummer Tommy Benedetti said. “It’s hard to beat playing music with your great friends, night after night.”
Songs such as “New Fashion” and “High Grade” nestled into the middle of the show displayed lead singer Elliot Martin’s killer vocals. Martin’s pure talent was showcased through his powerful projections in heavy choruses and fast tongue in rap-style tunes.
Many audience members sang along to JBB’s lyrics, another thing that differentiates them from most reggae bands today. Most American reggae bands write lyrics that fall within traditional reggae themes, while JBB gained success from writing about personal experiences.
While their records serve as the perfect escape from daily life, JBB’s live performance seemed to add another dimension to the word “escape.” The crowd was deep in the music from the time JBB was greeted by the Central Coast brewery to the time they completed their highly demanded encore.
Their music captivated people in a way that was almost hypnotic, bringing smiles to the faces in the crowd and igniting a little more life into this small town.