Inner Visions performs Aug. 25 in Boone
Inner Visions, with their crystal shaped logo and bows to art,
attempts to make solid a bridge between reggae and rock.
Moreso, their name, purposefully sounding like “intervention,” spans racial, social and economic gaps “by always having the same vision of the same concept,” lead singer Philip “Grasshopper” Pickering said. “That is the vision of love.”
On Aug. 25, Inner Visions will perform at Boone Saloon. Boom One Sound System, a local dub-reggae band, will open for Inner Visions at 10 p.m. The cover charge is $5, and the show is for ages 21 and older.
Most bands arm each other as “brothers” or “a family.” But Inner Visions is both – composed of two brothers – Alvin “Jupiter” Pickering (backing vocals, bass, percussion); his brother, Grasshopper (vocals, guitar, percussion); Grasshopper’s sons, Akiba “Mr. Snooze” Pickering (vocals, keyboards) and Aswad “Hollywood” Pickering (drums).
The cool respect and affection the four have for each other ebbs obvious. The sons inherited their father’s and uncle’s musical prowess, compared to how Kenyatta Hill followed his late father, Joseph Hill.
The family is from St. John of the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the rarity of roots reggae music is alive – camouflaged, but colorful.
In 1979, Grasshopper met the band Prophesy, a reggae group headed by Delroy Anthony and Lenuel Calwood.
“I was in the military when I saw them,” Grasshopper said. “There was something very special about Prophesy, very serious and humble, while other bands were rowdy.”
Grasshopper said he asked to step in and join the band, which, at the time, was “playing only every once in a while.”
After a few years of the three playing together, Grasshopper became the “push” of the band, invited other members to join and mapped touring schedules.
It has been seven years since the four current members became Inner Visions, and their sound has sunk into audiences’ cravings.
They have traveled extensively throughout the United States, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and, of course, their hometown.
“We want to give the audience something they can’t refuse,” Grasshopper said. “We want them to laugh, dance and leave feeling refreshed.”
From their website’s videos, this seems to be the case. Their long dreadlocks and slouchy hats sway with songs like “True Hearts/True Love” and “Push, Push, Push,” and the crowd sways, too, happy and sensuous.
The word “reggae” literally means “rags” or “ragged clothing” and came from the Jamaican patois word, “streggae,” meaning loose woman.
Reggae began as a 1960s mix of Jamaican and R&B that Floridians picked up from Jamaica with their hyper-powerful radios. It is strung from the off-beat, or the “and” beat, as in “1 and 2 and 3 and 4.”
Since then, the genre has been stereotyped to the cubby of barefooted hippies, resurrecting Bob Marley with drugs and Rastafarianism.
But as Inner Visions’ mission to reunite current reggae with its roots connection is met, their audience and the genre’s audience expands.
“More than that bridge though, we want to include everyone in the energy,” Grasshopper said. “Does not matter if you find a guy in Colorado or one in Afghanistan. They both want the same thing – love. We are one people, and that is our most powerful force.”
For more information, visit http://www.innervisionsreggae.com. Boone Saloon is located at 489 W. King St. in downtown Boone.