It’s April 1973 and The Wailers have just released their debut album Catch A Fire for Chris Blackwell‘s fledgling Island label.  They immediately depart for the UK and US to play shows in support of the new album.

Jump to October 1973 and we find the Wailers in northern California-San Francisco to be exact.  They are slated to play two shows at The Matrix Club and a now legendary show at The Record Plant.

On October 19th and 20th, 29th and 30th, the Wailers are slated to play at The Matrix Club, a small club on Fillmore Street in the Marina District.  Founded in 1965, The Matrix is a tiny club, with seating for no more than 120 people.  In August 1973, the club moves and reopens at 412 Broadway in San Francisco.  This location seats 700 people, and sports a full bar and a chinese restaurant.  The owners are Peter Abrams, one of the old Matrix’s owners, Dave Martin and John Barsotti, a former member of the Berkeley rock band Celestial Hysteria. It stays open for only three months and is mainly a rest stop for the struggling punk acts of the time, including Iggy Pop and The Stooges and the New York Dolls

Matrix booker Scott Piering takes a chance and books The Wailers, a “reggae rock band with a new and interesting sound.”  They are booked in place of The Sons of Champlin.  The billing includes The Wailers, David Rea with Slewfoot, The Stuart Little Band, and Steve Head.

The Wailers sell out both nights to the surprise of everyone. The line-up features Peter Tosh on guitar/vocals and Joe Higgs on keyboards/percussion, a temporary replacement for Bunny Wailer who recently left the band.

The Wailers are so impressive that they are invited to do a live broadcast on KSAN from Sausalito’s Record Plant a few days later (a show which will be featured next on the Midnight Raver blog).

I have included a concert review written by Peter Cowan, which was published in the Oakland Tribune on October 26, 1973.  The review is for the show that occurred on October 20, 1973.

Please click HERE to read the review.

I have also included lossless (FLAC) audio of the show labeled October 30, 1973.  This is a great sounding audience recording that was transferred years ago by Jack Warner.

The Wailers
Live at The Matrix
October 30, 1973

Bob Marley, vocals, rhythm guitar
Peter Tosh, vocals, lead guitar
Joe Higgs, vocals, percussion
Aston Barrett, bass
Carlton Barrett, drums
Earl ‘Wya’ Lindo, keyboards

1. Instrumental and introductions [3:17]
2. Bend Down Low [6:50]
3. Put It On [5:47]
4. Burnin’ And Lootin’ [8:26]
5. Stop That Train [4:10]
6. Small Axe [5:01]
7. Kinky Reggae [6:44]
8. Stir It Up// [4:43]



Give thanks to my good friend Marco Virgona,  co-owner of, for providing crucial information about the Matrix shows.