With performances by Natty, The Heatwave, The Janice Graham Band and more.
In a landmark year for Jamaican culture around the world this edition of Represent was an explosion of the best the island has to offer past present and future. First act Manchester’s Janice Graham Band offered up a distinctly British take on reggae roots, pairing up Northern swagger and sharp lyrics with a carnival atmosphere.
That atmosphere stayed the whole way through the night, with the legendary Trojan Soundsystem filling the gaps between live acts. Leaders of the new school of UK soundystem culture The Heatwave lived up to their name, firing up the crowd with an impeccable selection of dancehall and reggae new and old. The set was littered with their own re-edits and of course the vocal stylings of MC Serocee, if you closed your eyes you could have been at Notting Hill Carnival a month early.
Up next and also connecting Jamaican and UK heritage Natty brought his unique soulful sound to a seriously appreciative audience. He expertly blended good time vibes with social commentary and held the crowd captive for the duration of his set, showcasing classic material from ‘Man Like I’ against newer work, all sounding fresh.
Toots opened with the massive ‘Pressure Drop’ barely even getting a chance to sing any of the words as the crowd took over in a mass chorus. The man himself was backed of course by the mighty Maytals, playing all the hits like they were just written yesterday and backed by two powerful female singers on vox.
The party atmosphere continued through a soulful take on ‘Reggae Got Soul’ and the feelgood throwback vibes of ‘Sweet and Dandy’. Looking sharp in shades and his now trademark waistcoast Toots proved beyond any doubt that he hasn’t lost any of his mojo, in spite of some of these songs being almost forty years old. Closer ‘Monkey Man’ capped an evening of pure positivity and celebration in the truest Jamaican fashion.
Stay tuned to facebook.com/converse for updates throughout the rest of the shows.