Barrington Levy, Itals | House of Blues | International | Chicago Reader

Barrington Levy, Itals Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., March 3, 7:30 p.m. 2011

In the mid-70s, Jamaican studios were hot on the heels of the dub revolution, which tore rootsy rockers-style reggae apart and launched it into the far reaches of the cosmos—largely through the efforts of mad-scientist producers willing to use mixing boards and delay effects in ways that would make more conservative engineers blanch. But the arrival of drum machines, synthesizers, and samplers in the late 70s caused a second sea change. The new technology had the effect of stripping even more rules from an already fairly lawless style, and dub producers and their descendants quickly began using it to mash together disparate sounds like rockabilly, faux exotica, and early rap. Barrington Levy made his name in the early 80s, during the formative years of what became known as dancehall, and his approach to vocals—a fascinating pileup of singing, rapping, and tongue-twisting gibberish—reflects the nascent genre's anarchic energy. In America he's best known for contributing to Shyne's 2000 gangsta-rap banger, "Bad Boyz." But listeners who find themselves hypnotized by Levy's hooky, hyperspeed scatting would do well to check out his early efforts, like 1984's Here I Come. —Miles Raymer

Price: $25, $22.50 in advance

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