BEST REGGAE BAND (1998)
Shangoya may be Minnesota's elder statesmen of Island music, but the All-Stars still have a way of stirring a crowd into a mellow mess. The band started as a one-off lark back in the early '90s when a group of guys from various local bands jammed onstage at a party for Bob Marley's birthday. Since then, these members of Shangoya, Ipso Facto, the Maroons, Shalita, and other bands have been playing out here and there and touring nationally (without original member Eric Heim, a.k.a. Iya, who was murdered two years ago). The musicians mostly hail from the Islands--Trinidad, Jamaica, and the V.I., as well as Venezuela and Chicago--and though their shows are heavy on the cover tunes, the All-Stars pride themselves on their audience involvement. When this band hits a groove, you can close your eyes and let go: You know you're in good, sure hands.