Audience members moved their heads to the smooth reggae beats provided by Toots and the Maytals who brought their sound to the State Theatre last night.
The group performed hits from its Grammy-award winning album “True Love,” an album in which the group collaborated with music acts such as No Doubt and Bonnie Raitt, amongst other songs. The performance was part of its 50th Anniversary Tour.
“I’m the one who invented reggae,” Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, lead singer, said jokingly to the crowd.
In front of a backdrop that changed from red, yellow and green emblazoned with flames to multi-colored patterns, the group encouraged the audience to participate in its songs and kept a constant flow of energy.
“I’ve always loved Toots and the Maytals,” State College resident Lynn Chaplin said. “The groove is mesmerizing. It makes me happy.”
Chaplin has had experience in the reggae genre previously, even in State College. She played the bass guitar for The Earthtones, a local reggae band.
She is currently the bassist for August Room with Judson Mantz, the lead singer of the group who was also in attendance for the performance.
Mantz said to be able to see the group perform in State College was “really exciting.”
The guitarist for The Earthtones, Chris Younken, was also excited to see Toots perform.
“He’s a legend in reggae,” he said.
Younkin added that he has a lot of energy along with great songs.
The energy from the group spread to the audience. By the middle of the first half of the performance, many members were on their feet dancing to the music.
The crowd was one of the ways that made the performance more enjoyable for some audience members.
Paul Dunklebarger, State College resident, came with his friend and brother and said there was a nice crowd present at the performance.
“We’ve been fans of the band for a long time,” he said. “They’re fun to listen to.”
They were excited for the group to be able to perform in State College.
Evan Johanson, his friend and State College resident, said it is a rare opportunity to be able to see them, especially at a local spot.
“This is something special,” he said.
For some, seeing the group was more of a nostalgic experience.
“I grew up listening to them because of my dad,” Meg Supina said, adding she had grown up on reggae music.
She said it is a measure of how good a band is, to see if they are as good live as they are on a recording. For her, she said the performance lived up to that.
“It makes me think of warm temperatures, which is good for a day like today,” she said.
Toots and the Maytals sang songs that paid homage to his native Jamaica, past love, and also not being too late in chasing one’s goals. He was grateful and joking to the audience for being there and supporting their music.
“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “If it wasn’t for me, none of you would be here.”