Daddy Ernie is the compere for tonight and he is ably assisted by Mr. Mighty and Daddy Fridge who entertain us with a danceable selection of great Reggae tunes.
It’s looks like a sold out show in Brixton tonight as two giants of Reggae share a double billing. First on is Bunny Wailer and his Solomonic Reggaestra, complete with horn section and backing singers. At 68 years of age he still has a spring in his step and looks resplendent in an all white outfit with red, gold and green patterns and a huge pair of shades covering his eyes.
His set includes classic songs from his “Blackheart Man” album, crowd favourites like “Trench Town Rock” as well as the dancehall flavour of “Cool Runnings” and “Run Dance Hall”. He even plays some classic Ska and bounces around the stage with the energy of someone a fraction of his age. After a good 90 minutes of non stop hits DJ Tony Williams comes on stage to present him with a British Reggae Industry Award for his services to music. He gives a little speech and is clearly delighted by the gesture, telling us he was surprised by the size of the crowd lining up to get into the venue and that he’s going to tell people in Jamaica all about the the British crowds when he goes home.
It takes a good 40 minutes for the stage crew to change over for the Beres Hammond part of the show, during which you can hear the crowd disapproval at the length of time it takes to switch things over. When Beres finally appears, it’s to loud screams from his female fans as his Harmony House players gets everyone moving with their great playing. He’s a trim 60 years old and strolls on stage with a huge smile on his face. Like Bunny Wailer, he performs a crowd leasing set that includes “What One Dance Can Do”, “Can You Play Some More” and “Another Date”. His soulful voice sounds a little bit like Dennis Brown, particularly on songs like “I Feel Good” from his 2008 “Moment In Time” album.
Unfortunately, due to the length of the changeover he doesn’t get to play for as long as Bunny Wailer. His set ends when Jamaican singer Etana comes on stage to present him a British Reggae Industry Award, this time for his lifetime achievements.
Two giants of Reggae awarded tonight, playing great sets to hugely appreciative audiences.