The tropical drinks were being mixed at a frantic pace as the lively sounds of Bob Marley pulsed through a packed Lasell Gymnasium on Saturday night. This was how they warmed up the crowd. However, the main attraction was Third World, one of Jamaica’s most popular bands.
To be true to the Caribbean theme, the band was on “island” time, arriving on stage an hour behind schedule. But you have to give them credit. Despite several of the band members missing their flight out of Jamaica, Third World took the stage with the energy and enthusiasm that is synonymous with reggae music.
Williamstown, are you ready for a Reggae party?” This was the cry of lead singer William “Rugs” Clark, as the band appropriately grooved into their opening song, “Reggae Ambassador.” Shortly thereafter, nearly everyone in the house was moving to the sharp upbeat and throbbing bass that characterize this style of music. As guitarist Stephen “Cat” Coore put it, Third World was here to bring that “Irie” feeling to Williams. And they did just that.
The energy level grew even greater when the band moved into “Jah Live”, a famous Marley tune. However, at this point, their performance seemed to lose some momentum as Third World played several songs that seemed closer to R&B or Soul rather than Reggae.
This situation was soon remedied by a Marley medely of “Exodus” and the famous “Get Up Stand Up.” Again, though, the crowd’s interest seemed to wane after a peculiar rendition of Heavy D and The Boys’ “Now that We’ve Found Love” and more and more people seemed to head for their respective Winter Carnival parties.
Even the finale number, an acoustic version of Marley’s “Rastaman Chant” featuring Coore on the cello, seemed to lack the enthusiasm that existed at the beginning of the show. However, the crowd wanted more, plainly chanting “We want more!”
Third World answered this request with “1963”, a driving encore number at the least. Thus, the band left the stage in the same fashion that they arrived. They were Reggae Ambassadors.