Maxi Priest performs, Wednesday, February 4th at Nectar Lounge. Tickets are $22, doors are at 9 p.m., and 206.632.2020
In my opinion, Maxi Priest has always toed the line between being a talented lovers rock singer (whose hits like "Just a Little Bit Longer" and "Close to You" are staples) and a cheesy, reggae version of Lionel Richie. I know that Priest, who grew up in London, not Jamaica, does a good job of keeping a Caribbean sound in his music, but he's always worked closer to the fringes of R&B and pop than reggae itself. That's not a bad thing, but if you're going to tomorrow night's show expecting hardcore raggamuffin music, you could be disappointed.
But what Priest is good at is making quality lovers rock music unlike anybody else in the reggae diaspora. He's one of only two British reggae acts (the other being UB40) to score an American hit on the pop charts and his fan support is massive. There was actually a rumor going around last year, that Priest was going to be the new lead singer for UB40 after the group's long-time frontman, Ali Campbell, left the band. So far, UB40 hasn't confirmed or denied the rumor, so it'll be interesting to see if he performs any UB40 songs tomorrow night.
If you're not familiar with Priest's music, check out the "Wild World" video below. It's a cover of a Cat Stevens classic but arguably, Priest is better known for it. I'm still trying to figure out why such a good song warrants such a terrible video though.