Rootstand is a jam band, morphing subtly from reggae, to bluegrass, then blues, then Celtic. From traditionals to originals, the transitions are seamless yet distinct. The lead singer, Brant, is prophetic on stage, pointing, reaching to the sky, and singing about Joshua and Zion, urging the dancers on.
Two women with long hair and skirts are holding hands, dancing together, faster with the music. All of the men on the floor stand watching and smiling everyone, that is, except Brian Tomsic. He doesn't see any of the dancers. His eyes are focused greedily on the stage, watching the band. Brian, a WCBN DJ, hosts Train to Skaville on Tuesdays, and as soon as he sees me, he starts yelling praises for the band into my ear. "These guys spend a lot of time practicing," he shouts. "You can tell what they listen to. They obviously have strong influences in reggae and ska oh, my god, there's rockabilly in this."
After the lights go up and the place clears out, Brian and I spend some time talking with the band members, who alternately break away to give out hugs. They all have the same gentle eyes, the same long, long dreads. No nasty musician attitudes. I reach back, remembering my twenties, trying to remember if I felt as secure and relaxed as they appear to be. "Their music is a real amalgam," Brian tells me later. "I loved it. I was just amazed at how tight they were. I think they're a band that's ready to record for real."