Pato Banton reggae concert: A ‘Passion to reach people’

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate July 17, 2014 10:55 am
Banton says he is coming to Crescent City to “spread some love” after he couldn’t find a venue in town during his last tour. He performs July 23 at the Elks Lodge.
Banton says he is coming to Crescent City to “spread some love” after he couldn’t find a venue in town during his last tour. He performs July 23 at the Elks Lodge.
Artist Pato Banton brings reggae’s positive vibrations to Elks Lodge next Wednesday, July 23

Grammy-nominated international reggae star Pato Banton will be bringing his blend of positive reggae vibrations to the Crescent City Elks Lodge on Wednesday, July 23, as part of a 50-state tour that’s not too big for small towns like Crescent City.

“I’ve been touring across America, and we really want to hit as many cities as possible — different cities, remote cities; cities that a lot of artists don’t go to,” Banton said in an interview with the Triplicate, the day after headlining the 2014 Surf Rodeo surf and music festival in Ventura.

 

Banton attempted to play a show in Crescent City last year, but without being able to find a venue, his band Pato Banton and the Now Generation instead played a show at the 101 Bar and Grill in Brookings.

At that show, Banton publicly gave Crescent City venue-owners a hard time about missing out on his performance, but the show made him want to try again.

“I realized so many people were there from Crescent City that I should go and visit their town and spread some love in Crescent City,” said Banton, who attributes his desire to play in smaller towns to his “passion to reach people.”

“Those cities appreciate the music sometimes a lot more than people in the big cities,” Banton said. “Financially it’s not worth it and strategically it’s a pain, but morally and emotionally it’s a great feeling when you go to a new city and meet new people.”

Tickets for the July 23 show at Crescent City Elks Lodge cost $10 in advance from Del Norte Office Supply or brownpapertickets.com  and $15 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. For more information, call the Elks Lodge (359 H St., Crescent City) at 707-464-4448. Pato Banton and the Now Generation will be playing at Humbrews in Arcata on Tuesday before coming to Crescent City.

“I just want to let everyone know that we have a really exciting show. I’m coming with six musicians — a full band and they can expect to have a really great time. They don’t want to miss this show,” Banton said.  

Banton’s promoters describe his concerts as “an event not to be missed and an experience not to be forgotten. Positive Vibrations abound with a beat to keep you on your dancing feet, while Pato delivers a message that is food for the mind and soul. Many have considered his charismatic performance as live theatre where no show is alike and audience members become participants in the experience.”

During the headlining show at the Surf Rodeo, Banton ended the show by inviting all the children in the audience onstage to dance, he said.

Banton’s shows are driven by the feedback from the audience as there is typically no fixed set list. Acknowledging that the crowds in Crescent City won’t come close to the size of a Southern California music festival, Banton said, “But the energy will be the same.”

With everything in his music promoting “positivity and personal progress,” Banton said that many “fans come to me on a personal level for counseling or for personal support. 

“I like to be a friend and a brother to my fans. It makes me feel good to know that I’m making other people feel good.”

 U.K. Reggae legend

Pato Banton has been recognized with high accolades for both his music and his community activism including a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album and the BBC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pato Banton has toured with big-name reggae acts like Jimmy Cliff, Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers, Burning Spear, Third World, Yellowman, Black Uhuru, Dennis Brown and Steel Pulse. 

Pato has performed with Sting, Peter Gabriel and UB40, with whom he recorded the cover of Eddy Grant’s single “Baby Come Back,” a worldwide hit.

Pato’s 1996 collaboration with Sting for the reggae remix of “This Cowboy Song” earned a top-10 place in the UK and South American charts. 

Banton was born in London in 1961 as Patrick Murray and moved to Birmingham, England, at a young age, where he was introduced to the city’s cross-cultural music scene by his stepfather, a DJ fresh from Jamaica. Banton received the name “Patoo” from his stepfather (deriving from a wise night owl in Jamaica), because as a young teenager, Banton stayed up late entertaining the masses.

Banton became a prominent reggae artist as a teenager, winning the title of No. 1 MC in Birmingham for seven years in a row. At an audition early in his career, producers changed his name to Pato Banton. In DJ circles a “Banton” is a heavyweight lyricist; thus, in England Pato became “The Banton.”

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Banton and his band, the Reggae Revolution, toured extensively and received much chart success.

Banton’s 2000 album “Life is a Miracle” received a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album.

A non-fatal drive-by shooting of one of Banton’s sons in 2000 convinced the artist to put more time into his community in Birmingham, where he founded a music technology school and successfully worked with local police forces to reduce the number of gun-related incidents across the city.

Pato returned to music in 2005 and joined forces with the popular Mystic Roots Band (voted Top Reggae Band by the Los Angeles Music Awards) recording the albums “Positive Vibrations” and “Destination Paradise,” considered some of his best work.

In 2009, Banton was persuaded by keyboardist Antoinette (Roots Dawtah) Hall to start another band with the sole purpose of supporting “Pato’s mission to Spread The Good News across all 50 States Of America,” according to Pato’s website. Since the Los Angeles-based Now Generation band was formed in 2009, the group has played in every state in the U.S. at least three times, and Hall and Banton got married.

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