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Taken from Scene source (June 15, 2008)

City Stages review: Michael Franti and Spearhead

Michael Franti and Spearheads
(Sunday at 8 p.m., Miller Lite Stage)

by Brooks Brown -- The Birmingham News

Michael Franti and Spearhead
Michael Franti and Spearhead

Michael Franti and Spearhead carried the reggae torch passed by The Wailers very nicely at the Miller Lite stage Sunday evening. With a mass of dreadlocks contained in a dark knit hat, the San Francisco-based, politically-driven singer, rapper and guitarist delighted a diverse crowd of about 1,000 with a potent drum and bass heavy reggae/hip-hop mix.

Known for angry lyrics early in his career, which started more than 20 years ago with Spearhead, Franti seems to have mellowed with his current band and, like Marley, has created material with an important social message delivered with an infectious groove that sent a very excited and mostly young crowd into a dancing frenzy.

Songs performed from the band's upcoming album "All Rebel Rockers," due in September, included "Rude Boys Back in Town" and "All I Want is You." Toward the end of the set, the band shifted gears with "I Know I'm Not Alone" -- a U2-influenced song from the 2005 documentary Franti directed and starred in with the same name.

The energy passed from Franti to the crowd and back made for an excellent and exciting show that seemed more like a Friday night opener than a Sunday closer.


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