Fort Lauderdale's inna reggae mood lately. Yesterday, we brought you some free tidbits from Californians the Expendables, who aren't strictly roots but play plenty of laid-back songs on the upbeat, and bring their show to town next Wednesday. Just two weeks after that, though, dub fans can look forward to a headlining slot at Revolution by Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, a band of an inexplicable name and the very un-dubby hometown of Rochester, New York.
Though the group hails from the frigid northeast, though, it hews pretty strictly to in-the-pocket roots reggae. No ska, no rock, no frills -- just keyboard- and bass-driven grooves that aren't afraid to wander off into jam territory.
In fact, it's in a live setting that fans truly prize Giant Panda, as the group's known for short. Dedicated road dogs, the guys of Panda have played an almost inhuman 500 shows in the past three years. Their off-the-cuff improvisational alchemy was notably captured two years ago on the album LIVE UP!, which debuted at number two on the iTunes reggae chart.
That was the band's last iteration in its earliest formation as a six-piece, though. Since then, Giant Panda's been soldiering on as a four-piece, but with no less dynamism. Because the band's nature doesn't lend itself well to polished studio albums, it's launched its own live-recordings site, LivePanda.com
. Some of the recordings there are for sale, but many are free, and are hand-selected by the band and properly mixed and mastered.
As a taste, here's a free four-song live sampler. Check it out before the show at Revolution -- but of course, every night is different is dictated by the synergy between the band and its fans. No song is ever played alike twice.
Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad. With Rebelution and the Movement. 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16. Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $16.50 in advance. 954-449-1025; jointherevolution.net