New Kingston wows hometown crowd at New York concert

New Kingston wows hometown crowd at New York concert
Reggae band New Kingston performing at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan on April 15.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It was a taste of home cooking, reggae style.

The reggae band New Kingston made their only New York stop on their current tour with a show at the Highline Ballroom on April 15, and as they performed current and past hits for their audience, the Brooklyn-based family band, consisting of father Courtney Sr. and brothers Courtney Jr., Stephen, and Tahir Panton, said they found particular joy in the local hospitality they received.

“The show was great — whenever we play at home in New York, it’s just a special type of vibe,” said keyboardist Tahir Panton.

The show was especially enjoyable to long-time fans dedicated to New Kingston’s particular brand of reggae, said one woman who attended.

“I’ve been following them since 2006 and this is my third concert,” said Janelle Robinson. “A lot of reggae music is out there that is watered down and not positive but I love all of the positive music they put out there.”

The group played about 15 songs in an hour-and-a-half set, and even brought several fans onstage to perform with them, which was a highlight of the show, along with drummer Courtney’s entertaining stage presence, Robinson said.

“I love when they come forward on the stage and play their instruments — Courtney makes these great faces,” she said. “Seeing the guests on stage really personifies every great thing I like about them. Not only do they shine but they let their guests shine too.”

Sitting in for a few songs with New Kingston were vocalist Alexis Lane and guitarist Andy Bassford, who the younger band members call a musical inspiration.

“He’s a legend — he’s always been around and we did shows with him early in our career,” Tahir said. “Every time we play with him it makes me realize how much we have to keep playing.”

Aside from putting on their show, a memorable moment for the Pantons was getting to see a smile on their father’s face.

“There was section my brother was ‘bigging-up’ every member of band and we did my father last — I looked at my father and the people in crowd and said “Wow this is really great and his dream is still coming true today,” he said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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