Reggae Meets Ryley

“You’re really lovely, underneath it all. You want to love me, underneath it all.” Recognize these lyrics? Hot Like Fire’s multi-talented founder, trumpet player, keyboard player, and vocalist, Kelley B., belted out No Doubt’s “Underneath It All” on Saturday night in Ryley Room. Jennifer Morgan ’09 said, “It was a good rendition of No Doubt’s song. It was incredible, she sounded just like Gwen Stefani.” According to the band’s website, “Kelley B. is what makes Hot Like Fire HOT.” She founded Hot Like Fire, originally 17 members, in 1989 after she traveled to the Caribbean. Errol Strength, Hot Like Fire’s other lead singer who is known for his earthy, Bob Marley-like voice, also led the band. This was the band’s second year in a row to perform at Andover. Their performance, lasted for two hours with a short break in the middle. In addiction to ‘Underneath It All,’ the band performed songs from their two CDs, “Hot Like Fire” and “Reggae Around the World.” Hot Like Fire is a Jamaican band known for their reggae versions of American pop and R&B songs. Their latest CD, released in 2006, had the number one requested song on Boston’s top reggae radio station for ten weeks in a row. Although Hot Like Fire is the premiere reggae band in the Boston area, many Andover students are unfamiliar with the style of musice. Reggae combines calypso, rock and roll, and blues into a funky blend. It is known for its syncopated rythym, strong off-beats, and social commentary within its lyrics. Despite the band’s energetic performance and strong lead vocals from Kelley B. and Errol Strength, the dance floor remained deserted for most of the night. Most students chose to sit at tables and listen instead. Joel Camacho ’08 said, “No one knew how to dance to reggae music so no one went out to the floor and danced. That was pretty lame.” Despite the lack of dancers, a steady crowd of students of all grades flowed in Ryley Room. Students were still able to enjoy Friday night activities such as ordering food, talking with friends, or watching TV while enjoying the music and casual atmosphere. Jennifer Morgan ’09 said, “I liked being able to relax and listen to the music. It was a nice thing to do on a Friday night after re-adjusting to school.” Although students unfamiliar with reggae music had trouble dancing to it, Hot Like Fire was an enjoyable way to jump-start the first weekend back and welcome students back to the Andover way of life.