If there was one issue I had with Blackwater Music Festival, and mind you this is only a small one, it’s that the festival had an abhorrent amount of Reggae acts. This is honestly the first festival I’ve been to where Reggae bands were overrepresented. In some cases it’s ok, but in others it’s not. Luckily for me, my first encounter with reggae this weekend was Passafire. Not only was I extremely impressed with the group, but they put on one hell of a show.

Imagine this: Sublime meets Opeth, or if you will the Mars Volta. I know that’s hard to believe, but Passafire not only pulls off that normally steep label, it’s completely tangible for this Savannah, Georgia Rock outfit. Their style could be compared to the late Rx Bandits, but I actually like what this group does better.

The great thing about Passafire is that the group members set each other up to shine. Rush does it with their flying synthesizer solos turning into larger than life guitar riffs and Yes does it by concentrating on a daring organ bender then seducing from bongos to an extended bass line.

During the jamming portion of their set, their keyboardist and guitarist would riff perfectly off each other as their psychedelic freak-outs would close off a song. Synthesizers would roll out from the band's reggae infused rock, setting up the group’s sound texture, rhythm and changing time signatures that could be compared to a Mars Volta epic. Their music was entertaining like most of the bands that played in Live Oak this weekend, but it was their complicated and spacey jam sessions that kept the more daring musicgoers among the Blackwater crowd willing and ready to be blown away.

Passafire came on stage with fans that wanted to hear them play music. They took a hold of their crowd and gave them a diverse combination of sounds to drown out too. As the crowd smoked up on whatever they had, the group let their music speak for itself. Sure, they had songs with fast tempos, metal guitar riffs, a handful of organs and synthesizers, plus a number of delayed vocal effects, but it was the crowd’s excitement and the band's energy that put this group among the best reggae acts of the weekend.

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