Cali Roots 2024 | Day Two | Recap

Article Contributed by Nick Gumas | Published on Monday, June 3, 2024

As fans poured into the Monterey Fairgrounds for the second day of Cali Roots, the clouds in the sky had parted from the night before, leaving only the ones closer to the ground fans had made themselves. The warm weather set the tone for the day to come as day two would celebrate the genre’s history and feature both its newest and tenured performers.

Claire Wright | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

Starting the day on the Cali Roots stage was Northern California native Claire Wright, joined onstage by her band and Golden Retriever, Captain. Her musical style resonated with the audience and rested somewhere between reggae and country. Her set’s energy resonated well with the audience and included hits such as “California Cowboy.” Partway through her performance, she addressed the sentimental importance of the festival to her and her band. Having attended Cali Roots as fans many times and now finding themselves onstage, she said, “It’s such a bizarre concept to dream about something for so long and have it be happening.” She then proceeded to pay homage to another group that blends reggae with other influences as she covered Sublime’s early hit “Badfish.”

Tribal Seeds | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

San Diego powerhouse Tribal Seeds took the stage late in the day as they returned once again to the Monterey Fairgrounds. The presence of lead singer Steven Jacobo was well received, as vocal responsibilities had been delegated to Jamaican artist Hector Roots Lewis during their last Cali Roots performance. The band wasted no time setting a calm and collected mood as they started their set with their recent hit “One Time.” Their setlist included both old and new music as they played songs from their many years together, including “The Garden,” “Down Bad Vibes,” and “Moonlight.” In a heartwarming reunion, Hector Roots Lewis eventually joined the band onstage to perform several numbers to the enjoyment of the audience.

Burning Spear | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

Multi-Grammy Award-winning artist and pioneer of the genre, Burning Spear, closed out the Cali Roots stage with a sunset performance that proved to be nothing short of a masterclass in roots reggae music. The artist demonstrated stoic confidence as he walked onstage to begin his set with “Door Peep” and kept this demeanor throughout the show. Demonstrating his instrumental chops, the crowd became mesmerized each time he began to extemporize on a large set of bongos, playing with great rhythm and passion. The artist took the audience through decades of his discography, playing a well-rounded set including “Zion Higher,” “Creation,” and “Jah Is My Driver.” A showman through and through, he danced enthusiastically during every instrumental solo, never taking a moment of his time onstage for granted.

Stephen & Damian Marley | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

The evening culminated in a headlining performance for the ages as brothers in reggae royalty Stephen and Damian Marley took to the stage to perform in tandem. Introduced by a dramatic video montage celebrating the Rastafarian mentality, the two walked onstage while singing Damian’s 1996 hit “10,000 Chariots.” The juxtaposition between the two’s aesthetics highlighted their musical styles coming together, with Stephen dressed casually and draped in a red, gold, and green scarf, and Damian sporting an untucked suit. Their show mixed the musical legacy of their work as individual artists, their collaborations together, and the history of their father, Bob Marley, with their setlist including hits from across the decades. Midway through the performance, the stage lights turned an emerald shade of green, and the music took on a slower tempo. “Wowzers,” Damian exclaimed as he walked to the front of the stage and paced back and forth, beginning to deliver a dramatic monologue. “I think it goes without saying that California is notorious for being one of the frontrunners in the emancipation of one of the greatest plants that God has given this green earth,” he exclaimed, with Stephen loudly giggling behind him. After a long and rhythmically delivered speech culminating in the thesis that “cannabis saves lives,” the music quickened in tempo, and the duo erupted into a cover of their 2017 single “Medication.” The performance celebrated both the history of the Marley name and ushered in its newest generation. Toward the end of the set, the duo was joined onstage by Damian’s son, Elijah Marley, who took center stage to perform for a few bars during “Welcome to Jamrock.” Appropriately, the duo ended with an optimistic hit synonymous with the genre and closed out the night with a cover of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.” An elating performance, the crowd left with full hearts, anticipating the final day of the festivities.

Stephen & Damian Marley | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

Check out more photos from Cali Roots Day Two.