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Reggae for the People tour

at: ULU


July 11th, 2008 · post by jas · Make a comment

Date of the event: 04.07.08

Tucked away in the back streets of central London is the little gem of ULU, a place I hadn’t been before tonight, which was set to stage a very special gig. This was the penultimate night of the ‘Reggae for the People’ tour, organised by the Rockers Revolt label, and featuring a blinding line-up.

At 7.45 I entered to be greeted by the sights and sounds of Washington D.C.’s The Pietasters just starting up. It was at this point that I realised I’d probably missed Mungo’s Hi-Fi, but so had many other people it seemed, as the place was still nearly empty. However those who were there were getting into it, a huge mass of people taking up the dancing challenge right from the start of the set. The band entertained their socks off, with fake moustaches, and cameos by Coolie Ranx and Dave Hillyard, and seemed to never run out of energy until the set’s climax of ‘Freak Show’ and ‘Maggie May’.

Last time Slackers played London, it was at the Mean Fiddler and sticks out in my mind as a distinctly average show. The band was on top form, but the venue has the ability to suck the atmosphere out of any gig. This time around, it seemed to me that a lot of people had come to see this band and were a lot more excited. There was no barrier, no over-zealous security staff, and a lot more room to dance. The band launched straight into ‘Keep It Simple’ and then ‘Rider’. It begins a set reminding us why the Slackers are so brilliant – every song seems like a classic, from ‘Feed My Girl’ to ‘Propaganda’, and even songs from the new CD like ‘Every Day Is Sunday’. Glen danced his socks off, then teamed up with Dave for a vocal-sax question and answer session of “can you hear me?”, winding up the crowd to bursting point, Lynval Golding came out to join in for a cover of ‘Presure Drop’, and the room seemed to descend into a sweaty mass of dancing bodies.

Unfortunately after Slackers, a lot of people seemed to leave as everything seemed to be running on quite late, but this just meant the rest of us had more room to dance and less time to wait at the bar. Pama International eventually came onstage at 10.30, refreshingly late in a London where club nights have seemed to push gig curfews back to 10pm or even earlier at a lot of venues.

Many of those who had stayed seemed to have peaked too early and the band showed us up by unleashing seemingly boundless energy so late in the evening, bringing Coolie Ranx back onstage with them. In case we forgot their name Lynval managed to repeat it about 18,000 times during the evening, and this was interspersed with songs from their various releases such as ‘Second Chance’, ‘Throwaway Society’ and ‘Wonder Wonder’. They threw in stories and took the songs at a leisurely pace, but the end of the set became a crazed stage frenzy, with much of the crowd getting up to join in with a cover of ‘A Message To You Rudy’.

More tours should be as well thought-out as this, and in London at least, the meticulous planning paid off.

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