Horace Andy is launching the London International Ska Festival for 2014 and he’s supported by Dirty Revolution who are based in Cardiff. They’re promoting their second album “The Heat” and are a six piece with a female lead singer who play a danceable mix of Ska, Calypso and Reggae. Their set goes down well and along with DJ and Reggae historian David Katz spinning the tunes throughout the evening it’s a good way to open up the show.
Although he was born in Kingston Jamaica, Horace Andy has lived in the UK for several years. He’s recorded since the late 60’s but is known for his successful collaborations with Bunny Lee throughout the 70’s and his contributions to dancehall Reggae. He’s backed tonight by Dub Asante (made up of drums, bass, lead guitar and keyboards) and the trombone player Henry Tenyue aka Matic Horns.
He looks fit and well, joyfully skipping and skanking around to the more uptemp songs. Having been around for so long we get to hear a great selection from his career to date, it’s great to hear his distinctive vocal on songs like “Cuss Cuss” with it’s dancehall stylings and “Money Money (The Root Of All Evil)”. “Spying Glass” and his 1972 smash “Skylarking” also both sounded great, with the Dub Asante band perfectly recreating the sounds of his classic songs. Of course, he’s also known for his long term collaborations with Bristol based Massive Attack (having appeared on all five of their albums to date) and he tells us that his favourite song of theirs is “Hymn Of the Big Wheel” before the band launch into a fine version of the song, putting a Reggae skank to it that enhances Horace’s emotional vocal.
He finishes by telling us that he’ll be doing the festival circuit with Massive Attack this Summer and would love us to catch him on tour. A great gig to kick off a great festival.