WEEKEND: Reggae artist coming to Port Angeles for concert

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Once Brian and Cody Coughenour discovered reggae artist Pato Banton, they wanted more. The Port Angeles father and son were in Kona, Hawaii, four years ago, when they caught Banton in concert and “fell in love with his music,” as Brian put it.

After that show, the Coughenours got to meet Banton and promised they would see him if he ever came to Seattle or Victoria.

The following summer, they learned that Banton was booked at venues in both cities. But when Seattle was later taken off the itinerary, Brian sent an email to Banton's website, asking, “What happened?”

The reply: Are you a promoter interested in a concert date? But Brian Coughenour is a lawyer, not a music impresario.

But he's also host of Edenfest, a big summer party at his Eden Valley ranch. So he invited Banton to play. The artist accepted, and Edenfest 2009 turned into a two-day visit in which Banton and the Coughenours became friends.

“We went to Sol Duc Hot Springs, played bocce ball” and hung out, said Brian.

And the next summer, Banton returned, this time to serve as officiant at Cody Coughenour and Alethia Lane's wedding at the ranch.

Banton, who travels with a seven-piece band called the Now Generation, is back on tour — so of course Port Angeles is one of the stops.

Banton and band will arrive at Studio Bob, 1181/2 E. Front St., this Sunday for an 8 p.m. concert. The Coughenours are turning it into a party with food and drink catered by Oven Spoonful, and bringing in DJ Stan Selector to spin records from 7 p.m. till Banton and the band take the stage.

Tickets are $15 in advance at Oven Spoonful, 110 E. First St., and at the Toadlily Hostel, the Coughenours' business at 105 E. Fifth St. On Sunday, when Studio Bob's doors open at 7 p.m., tickets will sell for $20.

The Coughenours, who fit this date into Banton's West Coast-and-beyond tour, anticipate a night of “Positive Vibrations,” to cite one of the artist's album titles.

“Pato's songs are about peace and love,” said Brian, “with simple lyrics and a lot of meaning.”

Which is why, Cody believes, “he's a reggae legend,” who appeals to all ages.

Banton, reached by telephone in his Los Angeles office, added his
own summary.

“I want to give people a positive experience,” said the artist, stretching out all four syllables of “experience.”

A Pato Banton and the Now Generation concert is “not just a show,” he said. “It's a give-and-take thing
. . . it really depends on the energy of the audience.

“I would tell everybody, whether they're reggae, blues or rock fans: This is not a typical reggae show. It's very interactive . . . you'll become part of it.”

Banton, who turns 52 this year, started out as a DJ playing records for the all-night parties in his family's house in Birmingham, England. His stepfather, Lester Daley, was a DJ fresh from Jamaica, and hosted these illegal gatherings while young Patrick served as the lookout.

Patrick became Pato, the Jamaican name for a night owl who stays up all night calling “patoo, patoo
. . .” At 19, he joined a local roots reggae band, Crucial Music, and toured the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. The group's first recording was a single titled “All Night Raving & Sensimilla.”

By the 1980s, Banton was collaborating with the English Beat and UB40, two popular reggae-flavored bands, on singles such as “Pato & Roger A Go Talk,” “Hip-Hop Lyrical Robot” and “King Step.”

Through a series of bands since, Banton has held on to his Jamaican roots sound.

“Reggae music has always been the underground music,” he said. “Because it has maintained its political attitude, and its attitude toward legalization of marijuana, it has continued to stay underground,” with a moment of mainstream exposure now and again.

“I enjoy the pure form. But I enjoy reggae music in its many diverse translations,” Banton said.

For instance, when a rock 'n' roll artist inserts that rhythm in a 12-bar break, he relishes it well.

In this decade, though, Banton has devoted much of his time to his spirituality. In 2005, he embarked on “a new mission of 'Music Ministry,'” according to www.PatoBanton.com, and recorded a double album, “The Words of Christ,” narrated with teachings from The Urantia Book, a philosophical text published by the nonprofit Urantia Foundation.

These days, Banton is still spreading the messages of harmony — and of legalizing marijuana — via reggae music. His album titles tell the story: “Wise Up! (No Compromise),” “Destination Paradise,” and the record released Nov. 11, 2011, “New Day Dawning.”

After performing with the Mystic Roots band from Chico, Calif., for some years, Banton and keyboard player Antoinette “Roots Dawtah” Hall formed his latest outfit, the Now Generation Band.

Banton is his own manager, with help from Hall, as he tours the country. His current sojourn includes Seattle and Spokane along with Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Mill Valley and Arcata, Calif., Eugene, Bend and Ashland, Ore.; Coeur d'Alene and Boise, Idaho, and Missoula, Mont.

Banton's company, Gwarn International, is inspired by another expression from his childhood.

“It's 'go on,' a Jamaican slang term,” said Banton. “My mom always said, 'Gwarn, son, you can do it.'”

Last modified: April 04. 2013 6:19PM
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