Tag Archives: Stockholm

Yellowman is a survivor

Yellowman is a legendary artist and was Jamaica’s first dancehall superstar. He was one of the pioneers of Jamaican dancehall and has a vast catalogue of hits – Morning Ride, Mr. Chin and Zungguzungguguzungguzeng to name a few.

He reached his peak in the mid 80’s, but has continued to record and one of his latest efforts is New York from 2003.

In his early career Yellowman had it tough. He was an outcast that managed to rise to stardom due to his witty lyrics and incredible flow.

But the misfortunes came back. Later in life he developed skin cancer and had to go through an operation of his jaw.

All his setbacks makes it amazing to see him live on stage. He may not have much of his voice or flow left, but what he lacks in vocal capabilities he takes back on his energy, that is on the same level as a teenager’s.

He enters the stage in a boxers outfit and runs back and forth across the stage. He jumps around and sprawls with his legs.

The set is varied and a bit odd at times, and includes tunes such as Oh Carolina, Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt and Duppy Or A Gunman. Unfortunately the versions are not nearly as great as the ones he recorded in his prime.

Yellowman is an entertainer that certainly knows how to get a crowd going. I can only imagine how great he must have been back in his heydays.

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Lutan Fyah rocked Stockholm

Last night Jamaican singjay Lutan Fyah performed in Sweden for the third time. Last time he was here he did a decent performance at Uppsala Reggae Festival. That time he lacked energy and the setting wasn’t the best since he took stage early in the evening when it was still quite bright outside.

This time he performed at a small venue packed almost to the max.

He took the stage at 11.30pm. A vision in orange, starting off with a furious version of Ungrateful on the Cardiac Bass riddim. This tune is usually close to a ballad, but backing band House of Riddim turned the chorus into a dancehall frenzy.

Lutan Fyah oozes confidence on stage and gets a warm response from the crowd throughout the night, such as when the whole place joins in on the chorus of Rasta Still deh Bout.

He is an excellent performer and can easily go from growling to singing. And this is one of the reasons why an almost 90 minute long concert never gets dull – the versatility of the material.

He mixes sweet ballads with hardcore deejaying where he bolts across the stage with his knees up to his chin. And House of Riddim is a certainly a very capable band that easily turns each song into something new and fresh. They also know how to travel on some psychedelic dubwise excursions.

In the hip-hop tinged One Life on the Clockwork riddim and Come Over on the Minor riddim the crowd reaches climax. And when Lutan Fyah walks off stage at close to 1.00am Kägelbanan is like a sauna. The only thing that I miss is Save the Juvenile, probably still Lutan Fyah’s best song.

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Romain Virgo knows how to please a crowd

Sweet voiced newcomer and wonderchild Romain Virgo is on his first European tour and last Friday he visited a cold Stockholm.

Romain Virgo enters the stage a few minutes past 1.00 am dressed in a down jacket and backed by French sound and label Special Delivery Music. He hits off with Mi Caan Sleep and the energy that he conveys during the first minutes sets the standard for the show. The jacket is pretty soon changed to a more practical shirt.

He performs almost all songs from his self titled debut album and also kicks in some recent singles such as a lethal cut of the recent relick on the Stalag riddim (Stagalag). The crowd seems familiar with most songs and when the bass hits in No Money the floor is boiling.

It’s hard to believe that Romain Virgo is only 20 years old. He knows how to manage his voice and can also handle a crowd, especially the ladies, for whom he dedicates most of songs.

Romain Virgo has proved himself on album and on stage. Hopefully he can get across to a wider audience and have a hit similar to Gyptian’s recent Hold You. The world is eagerly waiting for him and his music.

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Powerful trio visits Sweden

In late October, Sweden is visited by a powerful reggae trio – Gyptian, Etana and Nitty Kutchie. On October 26th the trio performs at Babel in Malmö and the day after at Göta Källare in Stockholm.

Few have probably managed to avoid Gyptian’s monster hit Hold You this year. A pop reggae piece with a nice piano hook that has been versioned by American rapper Nicki Minaj and Major Lazer as well as an intense soca refix on the compilation Soca Gold 2010. The sophomore single from his latest album entitled Hold YouNah Let Go – has also had some success, though not in the same extent as Hold You.

Etana performed at Uppsala Reggae Festival last year and did a decent performance. She has a planned follow-up to her impressive debut The Strong One from 2008 and put out the strong singles August Town and Heart Broken together with Curtis Lynch at the end of last year.

Nitty Kutchie is the most unknown in this trio. His voice is reminiscent of Bushman and Luciano and has dropped a full-lenght album and some nice tunes. For example Welcome on Ghetto riddim, a riddim produced by Kemar “Flava” McGregor, and probably best known for Unfair – a Busy Signal and Peetah Morgan combination.

Not living on Sweden? Check out Gyptian’s European tour dates below.

Oct 16  Zurich, Switzerland – Alte Kazerne / Zeughaustr 60
Oct 17 Paris, France  Cabaret savage
Oct 18 Luxembourg   Kulture fabric
Oct 21 Leicester, UK
Oct 22 Montpellier, France – Mamacita
Oct 23 Rennes, France – Platinium
Oct 25 amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg Lijnbaansgracht 234
Oct 26 Malmo, Sweden – Friesgaten 26
Oct 27 Stockholm, Sweden – Gota Kallare
Oct 28 Copenhagen, Denmark – Amager Bio
Oct 29 Oslo, Norway – Cosmopolite
Oct 30 Helsinki, Finland – Helsinki club
Nov 2nd-  w/Mary J Blige (o2 Arena- London)
Nov 3th- w/ Mary J Blige (Birmingham LG Arena- UK)
Nov 4  Berlin, Germany – Festzal club
Nov 5  Arnhem, Netherlands – Club Uniq
Nov 6  Utrecht, Netherlands – Tivoli de Helling
Nov 5  Almere, Netherlands – Mambo

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Nas steals the show

After the Swedish Hultsfred festival bankruptcy last week, most of the artists were scattered in the wind. But the bankrupt festival’s best booking – Nas and Damian Marley – went to Stockholm and Gröna Lund.

Damian Marley’s father was on the same stage 30 years ago and played a record audience of about 32.000. When Nas and Damian Marley enters the stage on their first joint visit it’s not quite as many. But that doesn’t prevent the distant relatives from tearing down the place together with a live band, two backing singers and a flag waving rasta for almost two hours.

They kick start the show with As We Enter, the best track from their joint effort and live it becomes even more powerful. And the up-tempo tunes are the best, for example Nah Mean, where they get into a mean groove, or in Dispear, where the duo gets the whole crowd jumping up and down to a hardcore dancehall beat.

In addition to songs from the Distant Relatives album, Nas and Damian Marley does medleys of their own material. Nas does two such sessions, while Damian Marley only does one. And that’s symptomatic for the evening. This turns out to be Nas show.

He performs his own material with fierce intensity and in their joint performances it’s Nas that shines the most. Damian Marley disappears next to Nas. He’s timid and seems shy as he stands in front of thousands of fans. But sometimes he shines, for example in hit song Welcome to Jamrock and in the Bob Marley cover Could You Be Loved, which is performed in a furious pace. The whole crowd has their hands in the air and when Nas enters into the song it explodes.

The duo certainly made a powerful performance. But it was Nas show. From beginning to end.

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Interested in knowing what other critics thought about the concert? Those who reads Swedish can check out Dagens NyheterSvenska Dagbladet, Expressen and Aftonbladet.

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Suggestiv stämning med Ward 21

I går intog Malmöbaserade klubben Gully Creepin med Safari Sound i spetsen Kägelbanan i Stockholm. Med sig hade de dancehalltrion Ward 21 från Jamaica.

Ward 21 är en ovanlig trio. De är lika mycket producenter som artister och har flera framgångsrika rytmer på sitt cv, bland annat Cosa Nostra som släpptes i vintras.

Deras sound tillhör det tuffaste i dancehallgenren. Det är minimalistiskt, hårt och filmiskt. Och ungefär så låter också kvällens show.

Klockan visar kvart i ett när trion äntrar scenen. Det är mörkt i lokalen när Andre ”Suku” Grey inleder med sitt entoniga, maniska mässande. Hans röst är mörk och stämningen suggestiv.

Musiken har ibland mer gemensamt med hiphop och house än dancehall. Hiphop-känslan förstärks också av Kunley McCarthys beatboxande i mitten av showen.

Det är Andre Grey och Kunley McCarthy som står för den mesta sången. Mark Henry verkar trött och fyller mest i de andras sång.

Låtarna levereras i ett rasande tempo och stämningen höjs avsevärt i Hotta, Betta, Phatta, Ganja Smoke och Full Up the Party med en förinspelad Wayne Marshall. Det är inte konstigt att den låten får starkt gehör hos publiken. Den bygger nämligen på Tupac & Dr Dres hiphop-klassiker California Love.

Konserten är lekfull. Andre Grey och Kunley McCarthy kör exempelvis en låt från publikhavet. Men jag kan inte låta bli att tycka att de är lite loja och ofokuserade. Det är inte ofta man ser en sångare lägga sig och jäsa på dj-podiet mitt under sin egen show.

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Congos bjuder på show

The Congos Lee Perry-producerade debutplatta Heart of the Congos från 1977 är en reggaeklassiker av stora mått. Lee Perrys magiska fingrar tillsammans med Cedric Mytons karakteristiska falsett och Watty Burnetts hypnotiska baryton skapade en ljudbild av sällan skådat slag.

Gruppen bröt mer eller mindre upp efter Heart of the Congos, och uppföljaren Image of Africa passerade rätt obemärkt, sannolikt på grund av att en av de viktigare ingredienserna fattades – Lee Perry.

Nu är Congos originaluppsättning på turné för kommande plattan Back at the Black Ark, som sägs spelas in tillsammans med just Lee Perry. Bäddat för succé kan man hoppas.

På gårdagens konsert med Congos på Göta Källare i Stockholm river de tre grånande farbröderna av flera låtar från kommande plattan tillsammans med material från debuten såväl som från plattorna under 00-talet.

Med tanke på gruppmedlemmarnas ålder så håller den över två timmar långa konserten ganska bra kvalitet. Visst, rösterna har naturligtvis inte samma skärpa som på 70-talet och frontfiguren Cedric Myton har ibland svårt att träffa de höga tonerna.

Men energin finns där. Och det är precis det som gör kvällen. Hela gänget på scenen verkar ha förbaskat kul. Inte minst Cedric Myton som ser ut som ett barn som poserar och åmar sig framför spegeln med ett hopprep som mikrofon. Han nära nog strippar och rusar fram och tillbaka över scenen likt en tonåring som missat att ta sin dagliga dos ritalin.

Med tanke på att de flesta förknippar Congos med debutplattan, så spelar de förvånansvärt lite material från den. Ark of the Covenant och avslutande Fisherman, som spelas i för högt tempo, är de enda hitsen farbröderna väljer att spela. Men det spelar inte särskilt stor roll. De flesta i publiken har nog kommit för att se en skymt av den klassiska gruppen som gjort en av tidernas bästa roots-plattor.

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