Jazzie B has been flying the Funki Dred flag since 1988 when Soul 2 Soul were a sound system playing at venues like the Africa Centre in Convent Garden and tonight he brings the collective to the Islington Academy for two nights.
The show has a similar format to their show at The Roundhouse in 2010, different singers taking us through their back catalogue. An exercise in late eighties, early nineties clubbing nostalgia but also an enjoyable gig even if you never saw then first time around.
On stage there’s four backing singers, a guitarist, two violinists, two keyboard players (one of them, Simon Law, is an original band member). Jazzie B works the equipment from the back of the stage, occasionally coming to the front to deliver the monologues on some of the songs.
His female MC Chickaboo keeps the party going, encouraging audience participation in between delivering dynamic raps. It’s Caron Wheeler who effortlessly steals the show with her great presence and soaring voice. Songs like “Fairplay”, “Keep on moving” and “Back to life” are straight up UK classics that still sound great.
Basically it’s a great live show where they play all the hits. Jazzie B mentions they’re recording new songs but this set was more than enough to satisfy those who remember them first time around.
A review of the Roundhouse gig.