Jamaican Sounds Coming to Utica Monday, August 8 as The Big Takeover Continues Free Levitt AMP Utica Music Series open-air concerts in Kopernik Park. Led by Jamaican-born singer/songwriter NeeNee Rushie, the seven-piece Hudson Valley-based band play original music rooted in the reggae, rocksteady and ska sounds of Jamaican pop. The band also includes Guthrie Lord on guitar, Rob Kissner on bass, Andrew Vogt on trombone, Chas Montrose on saxophone, Manuel Quintana on drums and percussion, and Roger LaRochelle on drums.
“We always play an upbeat, positive, high-energy set,” Rushie promised. “We decided to put a smile on the faces of our audience and inspire movement.”
Followers of Desmond Dekker and the “old school made it” way, The Big Takeover mixes traditions like a band of global pop fusionists. Their music features deceptively complex arrangements and big hooks, all combined with Motown and soul and retro 21st century rhythm and blues.
Rushie said she loved feeling the energy of a group of people enjoying music together.
“There’s a special moment where the band and the audience really feel the moment,” she explained. “And knowing that so many people in the same room understand, it’s amazing.”
The family concert takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. with the opening act of Uncle Charlie and the Meatballs, a five-piece blues/rock band from Utica. Admission is free and the public is encouraged to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs to concerts. The series will also offer artistic activities for young viewers and food trucks will be on site.
Rushie looks forward to The Big Takeover’s visit to Utica.
“We played the Utica Music and Arts Festival years ago when we were younger and had different members,” she recalls. “It will be nice to show how much we’ve grown and that we’re a groovy new lineup.”
Kopernik Park is located at 317 Genesee Street at the corner of Eagle Street and Park Avenue near DeSales.
Mike Jaquays is the community reporter for the Mid-York Weekly. Email him at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: Big Takeover Brings Roots Reggae To The Levitt AMP Music Series In Utica