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Marley and Franti to raise the political roof at City Aud

click to enlarge Get jiggy with Ziggy (pictured), Michael Franti and Spearhead on Thursday night.
  • Get jiggy with Ziggy (pictured), Michael Franti and Spearhead on Thursday night.

Ziggy Marley and Michael Franti & Spearhead team up Thursday, March 18, for a night of consciousness rockin' at the City Auditorium. Apparently, both acts were such big draws at 32 Bleu the last time they passed through town, the 32 Bleu crew decided to move the show to City Aud. Franti was the first musical act hosted by 32 Bleu when the club opened in the fall of 2002 and Marley's appearance last summer was sold out long before showtime. With the two acts now touring together, fans can expect a double dose of genre-bending soul and reggae, and a heavy helping of socially conscious themes.

The eldest son of Robert Marley, Ziggy was only 10 years old when he sat in on his father's studio sessions, quickly learning guitar and drums. In 1985, he joined with his three siblings to form the Melody Makers and released a slew of albums from which they won three Grammies. More recently Marley has set out on his own, releasing his first solo album, Dragonfly, in 2003.

Evidence of musical growth and creativity are abundant throughout the album as Marley deviates from the Melody Makers' pop-reggae sounds, incorporating more rock, blues and steady R & B elements. In his newfound artistic play space, Marley even covers the Cars' hit "Drive," which appeared on the soundtrack of 50 First Dates. Musically, the overall result of Dragonfly is a strong step away from the corrosive pop elements of Marley's earlier efforts and into a more mature, albeit less reggae, sounding music.

While his music may diverge from his Trenchtown roots, his lyrics retain the fervor and energy his father was known for.

"All religion should be wiped out so that people may just live, what divides us is an illusion made up by men in their confusion," he sings on "In the Name of God," one of the many songs on this social tour-de-force album that addresses everything from the psychological bondage of the Israeli/Palestinian brouhaha to maintaining personal dignity and spiritual vivacity in the face of the powers that be.

Not to be outdone as social activist numero uno, Michael Franti & Spearhead will open for Ziggy in support of their recently released album Everyone Deserves Music. Franti has been making music for nearly two decades and remains vital, incorporating sounds of hip-hop, afrobeat, reggae, punk, dancehall and funk.

With Spearhead, Franti fits nicely into the category of 21st-century cultural globalists, with the likes of Manu Chao and Ozomatli. Everyone Deserves Music represents Franti's most developed work and is as eclectic and consuming as his previous work. More importantly, it's the most danceable and funky.

As Franti's music continues to evolve, so does his message. From his early attempts to deconstruct punk rock and Reaganism (he grew up in Oakland, Calif.) with his first band, the Beatnigs, to his Public Enemy-inspired assaults with the group Disposable Heroes of HipHoprisy, Franti has become a protest music icon. On "What I Be," one of the more infectious tunes on the album, Franti's message moves from the personal to the global in a manifesto of the id; on the anti-war "Bomb the World," he calls for the lone superpower to play nicer in the global playground.

With the combination of Marley and Franti, the show will undoubtedly be a match made in progressive heaven.

-- Aaron Menza

capsule

Ziggy Marley with Michael Franti & Spearhead

Colorado Springs City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa

Thursday, March 18, 8:30 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.)

Tickets available at 32 Bleu, 32 S. Tejon St.; $25 in advance, $30 day of show

955-5664 or www.32Bleu.com

Michel Franti & Spearhead in-store appearance

Independent Records & Video.

3030 E. Platte Ave.

Thursday, March 18, 2:30 p.m.

Free; 473-0882

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