By Grace Vanriel
Lining every available crook and cranny of the spacious multilevel Irving Plaza concert hall located in downtown Manhattan, it was elbow room only for fans out to see Chronixx and his band ZincFence Redemption on their 2015 “Capture Land Tour.” The concert was jam-packed and only the VIP areas offered slightly more breathing room and seating options and even there, it was an unprecedented crush. It's hard to imagine that as a Reggae act, Chronixx only started touring outside of Jamaica W.I. in 2013, and that by the following year he was already seeing exponential growth of his fan base and receiving a flurry of bookings as he grew in international acclaim but, it's true. With record sales also steadily growing, everything required for a successful music career is in place and pointing towards a prosperous professional future. It's also now impossible to deny that this young, high pitched, lyrically motivated Rastafarian sing-jay calling himself Chronixx and his extraordinarily talented band mates with an unmistakable sound are much more than just fly-by-night one (or two) hit wonders.
Creating and singing great Reggae music is one thing. But actually winning the unwavering loyalty of fans is another. Chronixx (born Jamar McNaughton) has been very successful at doing both. While the first-ever EP released by Chronixx in 2010 consisting of seven tracks called Hooked on Chronixx earned him industry respect, the EP did not make him an overnight celebrity. His rise to fame was short but incremental receiving its first incredible boost when he performed on NBC's ‘Tonight Show’ as a special invited guest of show host Jimmy Fallon. The song he chose was already a popular hit single from his second EP Dread and Terrible (2014) called Here Comes Trouble (Rootsman Rhythm). The performance broadcast live on US national television certainly helped catapult Chronixx into a number two spot on the Billboard Digital Reggae Singles chart, and brought him to the attention of American audiences. However, that performance alone does not explain the sheer speed in which he has continued to rise in popularity since that time which is a dream come true for the artist, and Reggae history in the making.
Following the Dread and Terrible Tour, the Capture Land Tour is the second major tour undertaken by Chronixx and is so-named after another song on his Dread and Terrible EP. Capture Land continues to build around a theme of unification through increased social consciousness and takes this interesting new celebrity to twenty-one shows across the United States that kicked off on May 23rd at the California Roots Festival and ends on June 20th at the Fillmore in Miami. Enthusiastic New York fans attending the Irving Plaza show, as part of the 2015 Governors Ball After Dark series, arrived early and in full force, waved Ethiopian flags signifying their understanding and unity with the lyrical messages by holding up lighters and singing along with Chronixx as he performed Rastafari inspired Reggae. Chronixx kicked off his generous two hour concert with the song Alpha & Omega and included a number of other outstanding well performed selections namely: Start a Fire, Eternal Fire, Never Give Up, They Don't Know, Most I, Thanks and Praise, Access Granted, Somewhere, Smile Jamaica, and a popular remake of the Inner Circle song featuring Jacob Miller called Tenement Yard (News Carrying Dread). Tastefully sprinkled throughout the set were short thanks and praises to Jah and brief social commentary on subjects that impact our daily lives, making the entire evening a true Roots & Culture Reggae styled presentation.
Chronixx and the ZincFence Redemption's obvious love of Reggae music was apparent in their overall presentation at Irving Plaza. Their generous set never faltered in energy characterized by lyrics that created a storyline and most importantly, a seamless ability to move artfully between the traditional Reggae beat to the modernization of the sound that successfully blended older styled presentations with a newer one. Without going into a lengthy debate on the existence of a “Reggae Revival,” at this point I would interject that if by definition the term is narrowed to mean the “popularization of traditional Reggae music” then I would have to agree, a change has come. It was a sight to behold - Reggae lovers attentively watching Chronixx's every movement on stage, absorbing his message, and swaying where they stood clearly transformed by what they saw and heard. The evening was a totally uplifting experience that fed the mind and moved the body.
Jamar "Chronixx" McNaughton, Joshua "Flubz" Jones, Nnamdi Robinson, Elisha Ellis, Hector Lewis, Evan "Yello" Mason, Stephen Coore
Grace Vanriel is the founder and CEO of the Live Reggae NYC network and co-founder of The Reggaeholics Movement; she is a freelance writer for Where Itz At Magazine, Senior Correspondent for ReggaeReflection.com, CatchTheVybe.com, TheReggaeVibe.com and the Assistant Caribbean Editor for CitiLyfe.com (online and print).
Marjorie Flash is the CEO of MyFlash Photography; she is a freelance photojournalist for Where Itz At Magazine, ReggaeReflection.com and contributing photographer for Catchthevybe.com