Sunday, September 25, 2005

Lee Perry and Mad Professor Review

Big Ups to DJ Spin Zero for his review of the Lee Perry and Mad Professor gig that took place on the 20th at the Town Hall.

'Eclectic' is one word that has been bandied about in reviews almost as much as 'epic'. Both of these come to mind in regard to the Lee Scratch Perry and Mad Professor concert. The first refers to the selections, the second only to the sound mix.

Cornerstone Roots was a fitting choice to lead for the veteran duo. Strictly roots and a well varied tempo set the crowd up for an evening where flow played a distant second to genre. With their highly accomplished rhythm section fluxing the feel from funky, downbeat, up-tempo and of course rootsy reggae, Cornerstone demonstrated a broad knowledge of reggae subgenres in their somewhat short set.

When the MP himself finally appeared in the darkness, the patient crowd was rewarded with some pure bass rub-a-dub, almost immediately followed by some upbeat dancehall style cuts and slower jungle. It was immensely satisfying to have a soundperson that knew how to drive the rig; you could feel the full effect without the harsh treble so often delivered at large scale concerts. Playing off ADAT (or something similar) allowed him to reconstruct the track instrument by instrument, fade the bass or vocals in/out, dub out riffs live, and create the performance he is famous for. The added touch of a double pitch changer on his microphone enhanced the old-school-ness of his electric, often synthesised, riddims.

Before long, the crowd was fully ready to see Mr Perry himself. Though he was more coherent than reports of last time, the concert still felt like more of a tribute to his achievements than a genuine desire to hear his vocal talents. Appearing to wield control, he was only as strong as the MP's beats which chop-changed as much as LP's trains of thought. This reviewer left for the after party after one too many versions of the children's song ‘This Old Man’.

King of dub? Yes, if one that means a self appointed symbol of an era that has surpassed him, leaving others to take things higher, while he revels in the rightfully earned glory. The Professor - if mad means unpredictable, he certainly deserves that title. Being quite a cheap party by international standards, one cannot complain given that the sound was at its best - heavy, clean and phat and the range of reggae-influenced material was enough to satisfy any curious dabbler. But what was missing was that something for the critical, the true-school, something that touched the roots of the true reggae lover. Was it flow? Quite possibly. Originality? Arguably. Heart? Difficult to say. Perhaps just the feeling that it was a goodbye showcase, not a parting gift of that spark from the Black Ark that touched so many back in the heyday. Definitely irie, sadly not high-grade. 7/10



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head, Spinner my lad. Nice review. Mr Perry is a much loved museum exhibit, historical novelty and reggae legend, but musically speaking, I think its time for him to retire and sit back on his front porch in jamaica with a nice rum and watch his chickens scratch round in the dirt while rambling at passing schoolkids.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts, Perry's home alas is not JA. Perry seemed a lil lack luster um er some tracks were truely a treat others some what formulaic What however are peoples thoughts on inspector Ital, thought it to be a solid first outing ?

5:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home