Depending on what side of the fence you are sitting on, the Wailers are either keeping the music of their former leader, Bob Marley, alive, or banking on his legacy.
Let’s look at the latter first; in practically every vein of popular music, keeping the brand name active and generating income regardless of the number of original band mates or, in this case, long after the figurehead has left this mortal coil, is a norm.
Those crying “foul” to an active Wailers entity can cite everyone from Thin Lizzy, whose leader, Phil Lynott, died only a few years after Marley in the '80s, to even the recent activities of former Nirvana members, as fellow examples, and make a logical argument.
The counterpoint to this can also be chalked up to a money-making model as well; supply and demand.
For more than three decades now, audiences throughout the globe – most, it’s assumed, in the know that the creative force behind the band has passed on – have been more than happy to make their way to live music venues of myriad sizes to see and hear the Marley-less Wailers pay tribute to their former boss.
Along with playing intimate halls the size of Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, the Wailers, who are led by longtime Marley-day bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett - have been sought out for at least the last two decades by world and jam band festival organizers both here and abroad and appreciated by those who attend.
Additionally, Marley-less Wailers original sets have been few and far between over the last 30-plus years, but musicians and songsmiths in and beyond reggae from Sting to Kenny Chesney to Cobie Caillat, have been more than happy to be augmented by the Wailers on stage or in the Studio.
At Old Town School of Folk Jan. 10, the Wailers will be performing Marley and Co’s, 1979’s album “Survival,” in its entirety.
The Wailers, 8 p.m. Jan. 10, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. $40. FYI: (773) 728-6000, OLDTOWNSCHOOL.ORG
ON SALE NOW
For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
Brandy, Jan. 19, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
Justin Bieber, July 9, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)
Marcus Foster, May 20, Lincoln Hall (18 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
The Whispers, May 3, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
Otis Clay, Jan. 26, FitzGerald’s (21 and older, FITZGERALDSNIGHTCLUB.COM)
Russell Thompkins, Jr. and the New Stylistics, Feb. 8, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
Bad Books, Feb. 14, Subterranean (17 and older, SUBT.NET)
Cradle of Filth, March 21, House of Blues (HOB.COM)