The army is on the march.
That would be the Soldiers of Jah Army, better known as SOJA, one of the irie-est reggae bands making music (many of their records are perennials on iTune's top 100 reggae albums).
On Saturday, they headline the second Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival at the MontBleu's new outdoor event center.
That will kick off a busy July 4 week at Tahoe. Other acts of note joining SOJA include one that's known not only for entertaining, but also for educating.
Singer Alpha Blondy, born to a Muslim mother and Christian father, might sing in English, French, Hebrew, Arabic or his native language of Dioula from Ivory Coast. He might amuse or intrigue. After all, this is a man who recorded the albums "Apartheid Is Nazism," "Masada" and "The Prophet."
Also on the schedule is reggae-rock outfit Passafire, whose recent "Remixed From Scratch" album is available for free download at passafiretheband.com.
One of the album's tracks is by another act on the MontBleu bill Tomorrows Bad Seeds from Hermosa Beach, whose music shows influence from other South Bay bands including Sublime.
Island of Black and White and Squarefield Massive are also scheduled for the all-ages festival(Saturday, 1 p.m. with SOJA scheduled to play at 9 p.m.; $40 general admission, children 7-11 $10; blankets OK but no high-back chairs or umbrellas; montbleuresort.com ).
Fireworks lovers will be enthralled by the annual "Lights on the Lake" celebration, billed as the largest in the West and bringing 100,000 visitors to the basin annually.
Get to a viewing location early. The fireworks are set off from barges on South Lake Tahoe, so the best spots are the Lakeview Commons/El Dorado Beach, Nevada Beach, Timber Cove Marina, Bijou Community Park, Edgewood Tahoe or aboard the MS Dixie II or Tahoe Queen paddlewheelers.
The 25-minute display is choreographed to pop music and scheduled to start at 9:45 p.m. Thursday.
If you are in a celebratory mood early, check out Wednesday's beach party and fireworks at Kings Beach. The celebration, open to all ages, kicks off at 2 p.m. at the North Tahoe Event Center (8318 North Lake Blvd.) and Kings Beach State Recreation Area.
The event includes live music by One Track Mind, spinning by DJ Chango, contests, vendors and a dunk tank. Fireworks are set for 9:30 p.m. Watch free from the beach or purchase VIP deck tickets ($10 for adults and $5 for kids 3-11). For information, call (530) 546-9000.
Boomtown, Reno Events Center: Mark Wells Duo, Saturday. (800) 648-3790.
Carson Valley Inn Cabaret Lounge: Chili Sauce, today-Saturday; George Pickard, Sunday-Wednesday; the McBride Brothers, Thursday-July 6. (775) 782-9711.
Eldorado, Reno Showroom: "Menopause the Musical," through July 14. (800) 648-5966.
Harrah's Lake Tahoe The Dan Band, Saturday; The Fab Four, July 6. (800) 427-7247.
Harrah's Reno Sammy's Showroom: Biggest Little Sideshow, through Oct. 13; Taylor Hicks, Wednesday-July 7. The Stage @ the Zone: Midnight Riders, today-Saturday; Apple Z, next Friday-July 6. (800) 427-7247.
Harveys, Lake Tahoe Improv: Michael Kosta, today-Sunday; Kivi Rogers, Wednesday-July 7; Outdoor Arena: Tim McGraw, July 16. (800) 427-8397.
Horizon, Lake Tahoe Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Thursdays- Tuesdays. (775) 588-6211.
MontBleu Resort, Lake Tahoe Outdoor Event Center: Reggae festival, Saturday. Blu: Red, White and Boom, next Friday. (888) 829-7630.
Silver Legacy, Reno Biggest Little Wing Fest, Thursday-July 6. Grand Exposition Hall: Terry Fator, next Friday. (800) 687-8733.