Support for this one comes from Brighton’s own Rocksteady revivalists The Resonators. They’ve had their debut album out for a few months and the single “Sweet love affair” has been getting lots of airplay from those in the know. They’ve also done a session for Mark Lamarr for his “God’s Jukebox” radio show on BBC2. The sort of band who should be a festival circuit staple, it’s good stuff, worth checking out if you ever get a chance and a decent support act for our main event.
Arrested Development, the Atalantan funk soul brothers and sisters are back with a new album “Strong” but they’ve never really been away. After their 1994 album “Zingalamaduni” failed to match the success of their debut, the group broke up but lead rapper Speech has had continued success in Japan and has been releasing stuff on his own label for years. This is actually their ninth album and all the hallmarks of the group are still in place. In addition to still touring with Arrested Development, Speech and his wife run the Greater Atlanta Church of Christ and he’s written a book “What is success?” all about turning worldly success into spiritual success. So even though it’s been a while since he’s played over here he’s been keeping busy.
It’s a tight set and the sound is pretty good. They’ve got a drummer, bass player and lead guitarist, which helps beef up the sound, and vocals come courtesy of DJ and back up rapper One Love as well as the two singers/dancers Tasha Larae and Montsho Eshe. Montsho is especially impressive, for me she always stood out in the band line up as she has bags of charisma and is an accomplished dancer and choreographer in her own right. Speech doesn’t look any older than when I first saw them play in London when they first came over here (not bad for a man born in 1968) and still has a unique sense of dress as well as lots of charm. He’s a warm and welcoming front man and is clearly happy to be on stage belting out their feel good songs. Me and the lady I was with were debating whether or not he actually had any lenses in the big Rayban type framed glasses he was wearing (I was right at the front and they didn’t look like they had any in to me but it was a good look anyway :-)).
Speech, Tasha and Montsho are all great front people and with One Love occasionally coming from the back to punctuate Speech’s flows with his own raps it was all pretty lively (although One Love’s mic should have been a bit louder). The new material is typical Arrested Development fare, voicing concerns for the environment on songs like “Greener” and stating his current worldview on “The world is changing”. But it’s the hits off their debut album that prompts the biggest responses tonight. “Tennessee” and “Mr Wendall” still sound great and have stood the test of time along with “People Everyday” which is a great way to end what has been a lively and energetic performance.
Good to see ’em back playing live in the UK, a welcome and much needed antidote to what passes for the majority of hip hop these days.
Speech’s book “What is success?” on sale through his website. Not really my kind of thing but here ya go: