By Josh Bell
It might seem a little unlikely at first, but Las Vegas is actually a great town for the sounds of reggae.
Sure, we’re landlocked in the middle of the desert, but we have plenty of sunshine and an upbeat party atmosphere. The yearly Reggae in the Desert festival is a staple of summertime in Las Vegas, and local acts like HaleAmanO and One Pin Short carry the torch for the genre in town year-round.
Both of those artists will serve as openers at the Hard Rock Café on the Strip for SOJA (that stands for Soldiers of Jah Army), a Virginia-based band that’s been putting out albums of traditional reggae music for nearly 15 years, steadily building up a following by touring around the country and opening for the likes of Dave Matthews Band and O.A.R.
Both of those bands are big in the jam scene, and SOJA’s laid-back, loose style complements jam bands particularly well. But don’t mistake SOJA for a watered-down version of reggae; these guys are the real thing, influenced heavily by decades of Jamaican music.
All Music Guide called the band’s January release, Strength to Survive, “one of the best American reggae albums of the year,” and real reggae is exactly what you’ll get at their Vegas show.