Published Aug 18, 2018Reggae music as a genre has endured decades, so one drizzly Toronto evening wasn't about to rain on this parade. Jamaican artist Chronixx simultaneously represents the new guard and the legacy of reggae — its past, present and future — and the 25-year-old, born Jamar McNaughton, recognizes the power of this mandate. His debut studio album, 2017's Grammy-nominated Chronology, was a revelation; his joyous take of the genre comes grounded in the socio-economic happenings of the day as well as the historical legacy of Rastafarianism. And as part of the annual Manifesto Festival, performing as headliner and blessing the proceedings at Nathan Phillips Square — in a city that has endured a lot over the past few months — was kind of a big deal.
Earlier, Toronto's Charlotte Day Wilson offered up a set that helped soothe the anxious mood of the early evening, which saw a torrential downpour and the potential threat of the show not going on as a result. "Let's be honest: this sucks," Wilson said, noting the weather. But she weathered on, dropping cuts from the strong Stone Woman EP released this past February — "Stone Woman," "Doubt" — before closing things off with cuts from her breakout 2016 EP CDW in "Find You" and "Work."
Amid the grey night sky — the result of inclement weather and hazy weed smoke — Chronixx and band Zincfence Redemption blessed the air with positive vibes and exaltations. "But this is just the beginning / Beginning of the grand finale," goes the lyric to opening track "Alpha & Omega" — from the 2014 Dread and Terrible project — setting the stage to a 70-minute set of older material and tracks from Chronology. Chronixx is a star, fully formed, from the attire, presence and studio-ready vocals; performed tracks like "Roots & Chalice," "They Don't Know," Black Is Beautiful" and "Skanking Sweet" served to underscore this fact.
Dropping "Legend" to help close out the night was both prophetic and karmic in nature. The skies were clear at this point, and so is the path to enduring success for Chronixx.