Music » Critics' Picks

Steel Pulse

8 p.m. Friday, July 27. Budweiser Main Stage, on the Arch grounds, as part of Live on the Levee.

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Over the course of thirty-plus years, Steel Pulse has released just one great album: its 1978 debut, Handsworth Revolution. But it remains a monster. Hacking away at the lover's rock and party dub which had sprawled like so much ditch weed over the UK reggae scene, the band used precise rhythms, spare arrangements (only Selwyn Brown's juicy keyboard lines ventured into the outer spaces) and interlocked harmonies to drive its anti-racist, anti-colonialist politics straight through the safest of European homes. Since Steel Pulse's heyday sharing stages and audiences with the Clash and Generation X, the band has survived the departure of founding percussionist Fonso Martin and expanded to a nine piece Rasta-revue, but its political vision still pulls no punches — and neither does its hot, vulcanized groove.

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