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Johnny Marr, Third World, Peter Buck coming to The Top Hat in Missoula

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If you’re a fan of international reggae or legendary musicians from such bands as REM or The Smiths, The Top Hat Lounge will be the place to be in the coming months.

Third World plays at The Top Hat on Oct. 8 in Missoula
Third World plays at The Top Hat on Oct. 8 in Missoula

The popular Missoula music destination recently announced tickets to see performances from the self-described Reggae Ambassadors Third World, singer/songwriters Alejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck, and Johnny Fucking Marr, one of the founding members of The Smiths. Third World performs on Oct. 8, Escovedo and Buck play on Nov. 14 and Marr hits town on Dec. 1.

Johnny Marr plays in Missoula on Dec. 1.
Johnny Marr plays in Missoula on Dec. 1.

For more than 40 years, Jamaica’s own Third World has been fusing funk, pop, rock, rap, dance music and R&B with reggae for their unique “reggae-fusion” sound.

Singer Bunny Rugs has described the band’s sound, saying, “Strictly a reggae band, no. Definitely a reggae band, yes.” Bassist Richard Daley has said, “We took reggae music and put branches on top of it.” 

 

The band has been nominated for a staggering 10 Grammy Awards and have received such accolades as the 1986 United Nations Peace Medal, the 1992 and 1996 Jamaica Music Industry Awards for Best Show Band, the New York City Ambassador Award in 2009, among others.

Beyond describing them, do check out a mix of their tracks below and take in the power of their sound. Tickets to the Oct. 8 show are $16 to $18.

If catching one of the most acclaimed reggae bands ever wasn’t exciting enough for you, in November Peter Buck, one of the founding members of the college rock band REM will come to Missoula to play a show with legendary singer/songwriter Alejandro Escovedo.

Alejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck perform in Missoula on Nov. 14
Alejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck perform in Missoula on Nov. 14

While Buck might have more name recognition, you’d be a fool to discount the musical mastery of Escovedo.

He’s spent a lifetime, “traversing the bridge between words and melody and has ranged over an emotional depth that embraces all forms of genre and presentation,” his official online bio states. “A resolute voice that weathers the emotional terrain of our lives, its celebrations and despairs, landmines and blindsides and upheavals and beckoning distractions in search for ultimate release and the healing truth of honesty.”

Possessing a huge range of influences, Escovedo grew up in Texas and later California in the 1950s and 60s. Steeped in independent punk rock, his sound has evolved to include blues, pop and alt-country influences, as well.

His latest album, 2012’s “Big Station,” has been described as, a “lean rock record with import beyond the sting of the smart, seething tracks,” by Paste Magazine and “his most consistently cheery-sounding album, from the scorching boogie of ‘Man Of The World’ to the bouncy spoken-word silliness of “Headstrong Crazy Fools” and the clap-happy groove of ‘Party People.'” by the Onion AV Club.

Buck, beyond his REM days, has performed with almost anyone and everyone who matters in folk music. His latest solo album, titled ” I Am Back to Blow Your Mind Once Again” came out on vinyl only on Feb. 18.

His style is distinctive for his use of open strings while playing chords to create a chiming sound and what many consider to be memorable pop melodies.

Tickets to the November show are $25. Check out a few sample songs from each of these talented performers below.

Finally if subperb reggae AND kick-ass rock/folk/punk rockers isn’t enough to satiate your thirst for quality music, on Dec. 1 Johnny Marr will be in Missoula to rock your brains out.

Marr might be considered one of the most influential British musicians ever and one of the greatest guitarists of an era.

Instead of describing what makes Marr special, I’ll leave that to my friend Sara Habein, who met him last year. You can read her account here.

Also, check out one of the many interviews Marr has done over the years, this one from the popular “British Masters” series.

Tickets to the Dec. 1 show in Missoula are $30 and go on sale on Sept. 12. You can order them online here.

Finally, keep checking back for periodic updates about these shows and many more in the Missoula area in the coming months!

 

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