>> For some, the end of 2016 consisted of popping a bottle of champagne or kissing the one next to them, but for those at Anthology, the new year was rung in with some soul-moving reggae. This year’s NYE show, called “Sky's the Limit”, was hosted by Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, a Rochester born American-reggae jam band, at Anthology on East Avenue. Along with Giant Panda, the other musical guests, John Brown’s Body and Upward Groove, got a chance to play some groovy sets. Collin, one of Floated magazine’s writers, attended the show and obtained a photo pass to shoot the three bands, he writes for us now about the wild night that unfolded:

The venue reeked of cannabis by the time John Brown’s Body came on the stage at 8:30; the swarms of “heady” young adults crowded eagerly as the band began to tune up. JBB started off the NYE show with a few early roots reggae and moved into songs from their latest album, Firefly, released in 2016. John Brown’s Body has a more “futuristic roots” feel, which sets them apart from Giant Panda and attracted a crowd at Anthology that was much more accustomed to the Rastafarian music scene.

Giant Panda hit the stage immediately following JBB, starting off their set with my personal favorite, “Mr. Cop”, the scent of burnt cannabis could be smelled once again as the crowds began to move from the bar to the stage in preparation. Formed in 2001, GPGDS, has brought the life of reggae to Rochester. By mixing jams and roots music from all around the world, Giant Panda innovates a new sound of American reggae, which has attracted thousands of followers locally and nationally. Their sixth and latest album, Make It Better, hit number one spot on the Billboard Reggae Chart this past year, and the band seeks to progress even further as they spread positive vibes on their current tour out west.

Giant Panda was accompanied by special guest, Upward Groove, during the final minutes of 2016. Some of the members from each band swapped spaces on the stage to bring the audience a fun, alternative spin on some of Giant Panda’s classic songs. As the clock struck midnight, Giant Panda had the entire venue on their feet and dancing; couples in the crowd kissed and balloons streamed from the ceiling in celebration of the new year. Playing just a few more songs after the ball dropped, Giant Panda signed off by covering the song, “New Speedway Boogie” by the Grateful Dead, as their encore which had fans leaving the venue with a smile and positive vibrations for the year.

The staff at Floated Magazine wishes everyone a happy new year and we are excited to announce that our magazine will cover even more material in 2017! <<