Winston Foster aka King Yellowman comes from that long line of great Jamaican musicians who graduated from the famous orphanage The Alpha School for Boys. He suffered from cancer of the jaw in the mid 80’s and after recovering from surgery he seems to have left his previous slack lyrics behind and reinvented himself, exploring more social concerns through his music.
It’s an interesting change as this is the man credited with kicking off that whole period of the slack deejay, something that still permeates dancehall lyrics today, and he was also the first of the dancehall artists to be signed to a major label.
He’s backed by his Sagitarius band who comprise drums, bass, keyboards and lead guitar. A tight unit equally at home playing rootsy Reggae as they are playing fluid digital riddims. Yellowman puts in an energetic show clocking in at around an hour 40 minutes. Dressed head to toe in comfy Adidas sportswear, he spends the whole time on stage high kicking, running from one of the stage to the other or bouncing on his toes like a boxer as he playfully goes through the set.
He constantly tells us how happy he is to be playing Brighton and gladly poses for pictures, constantly shaking hands with the crowd who start the gig a short distance from the stage, but who are right up close by the end of it. That’s pretty much a testament to the warmth of the man, as the venue was by no means full but he pulled everyone right to the front and got them dancing just through personality and great showmanship.
There’s a few covers of old Reggae standards like “54-46 was my number” with Yellowman swapping in his own lyrics over the well known versions. He also sings a version of John Denver’s “Take me home country roads” that ends up as a mass sing-along-a-Yellowman. 🙂
He only gives us a short version of his massive 1983 hit “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” right at the end, but by then he’s been on stage for a while and has left the audience more than satisfied. It’s good to see him move his show into this more party time vibe without the slackness. Good fun and great to see “Yellowman no bwoy” fe real.