Chainsaw Brassica are an eight piece from London comprising drums, bass, rhythm guitar, alto sax, trombone, trumpet, percussion and lead singer Ash Davis. They play a highly energetic brand of Reggae and Dub and have been gaining a bit of a reputation on the festival circuit for their infectious lively shows. They kick off the set with a version of Aswad’s classic tune “Warrior Charge” and follow with a danceable highly enjoyable set that quickly gets the Concorde crowd bouncing around. A great way to kick of a gig and a great band in their own right. Check out their Summer anthem “Summer Dubbin'” that was being championed by David Rodigan earlier this year.
The Skatalites are here to celebrate 50 years in the business, and it’s been a long road since their humble beginnings in Jamaica through to the inevitable loss of original members as the passage of time took it’s toll on the band. The great thing about them is that there is always no shortage of musicians in Jamaica who they are happy to take on board and help continue the legacy.
The current touring line up is made up of tenor sax, trombone, trumpet, bass, drums, rhythm guitar, keyboards and 78 year old Lester “Ska” Sterling on alto sax. Mr Sterling is one of the original members alongside their vocalist Doreen Shaffer, and he takes centre stage tonight, introducing the songs and playing his solos with a genuine love for what he does.
It’s always great to hear these fantastic danceable Ska songs, with “El Pussycat”, “James Bond”, “Christine Keeler” and “Guns Of Navarone” still sounding as brilliant as ever. I often wonder if their great trombonist Don Drummond (who passed away in 1969) had any idea that some of his compositions would be so timeless, it’s truly a fitting testament to him and his music that it does still sound so great.
Of course, the musicians playing tonight are the ones responsible for the uptempo vibe. They all take solos that demonstrate their mastery of their respective instruments without it feeling like musos just showing off.
Doreen Schaffer comes on to sing “My Boy Lollipop” and “Simmer Down” and it’s a perfect contribution to an evening of non stop dance music. The busy Concorde venue is filled with all ages, from young student types to old skinheads but their all united in skanking to the beat. A truly universal sound that never seems to feel dated.