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John Brown's Body

You wouldn't think the American Civil War and reggae music would be closely associated. Nothing's less Rasta than people warring over states' rights and abolition, right? But John Brown's Body begs to differ, at least when it comes to the band's name, cribbed from a marching song for the Union. Aside from all that, this eight-piece band is becoming better-known in reggae and jam circles as an ever-evolving act, recently moving from a more traditional Bob Marley-esque style to a modern jam-infused show. In a South Florida market that's not exactly starving for jam/reggae acts, a visit from these Northeasterners is still an occasion, thanks to their intricate but danceable bass lines and songs that don't all focus solely on getting high. Don't get the wrong idea: They still sing about the sweet leaf here and there, but there are plenty of social commentary, revolution-type songs as well. That certainly goes a long way toward justifying the group's name. Rounding out the show is Passafire, from Savannah, Georgia. This quartet too is another modern reggae act, although it sounds more like Sublime (in a good way).

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Brett Gillin

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