This past weekend we stopped by SOBs on a Saturday night to see Random Test Reggae Band as they crossed the border from NJ to share some great reggae with New York City. SOBs is notorious for hosting an incredible Saturday night reggae party. Often packed to capacity Caribbean Fever is one of the premiere spots in Manhattan to hear reggae on the weekend. When I saw that Random Test was going to be playing I had to check it out.
For over a decade, Random Test Reggae Band has been brining great reggae music to the East Coast. With members hailing from all over the Caribbean, the group brings a cache of authentic reggae and calypso rhythms in true West Indian fashion. The band has had the privilege to be called upon to open for such bands as Burning Spear, Culture, Kymani Marley, The Wailers & Third World.
Their style of music this night was classic reggae; no questions asked no explanation needed. SOBs had them booked for two sets and I caught the second one around 10pm. I wish it had been a little later so more people could have seen it, as New Yorkers often don’t come out until later in the evening.
On this night, those with the soon come mentality missed out. Random Test burst across the stage with passion and made up for the smaller audience by giving even more to those who were there. They launched into classic Bob Marley covers and alternated between their two vocalists, supporting each other with harmonies in-between solos. Marley classics faded into some of my personal favorites like One Cup Of Coffee. Showing that they were not just a cover band, Random Test kicked into Soca mode with a shout out to Trinidad and followed that by calling out to the herbalists in the building.
Instead of taking us to the standard Legalize It, they dipped into Gregory Isaacs, with an exceptional version of Night Nurse followed by Border. After those songs, I was sold, singing along from the crowd and wanting more. They ended their set with Exodus. The back to back of “I’m leaving out of Babylon” against “Movement of Jah People” was a perfect ending for the night.
Random Test has their first album out now with a second on the way and can be found playing most nights somewhere on the Jersey Shore. Keep an eye out as they make their way to NYC via Shrine World Music Venue and now SOBs. Check back with Reggae In NYC and we will let you know where you can see them or check out their site below.