A very small crowd out tonight to see what is the first date on Kabaka Pyramid’s debut UK tour. A shame it wasn’t better promoted really, because those not in attendance missed a great Roots Reggae show equally on a par with his contemporaries Chronixx and Protoje who both recently played in Brighton to packed crowds.
He does get a big welcome from those who are here though, his band The Bebble Rockers kicking things off with Aswad’s “Dubfire” and a couple of other instrumentals. They’re made up of drums, bass, lead and rhythm guitar, keyboards, a percussionist and a female backing singer with the bass player providing additional vocals.
Kabaka, his name taken from the Ugandan word for “King“, puts on an impressive show, equally at ease whether singing or deejaying in double time, his voice does get a little hoarse towards the end of the set but it’s understandable as they’ve been playing all around Europe before coming to the UK.
It’s a great set comprising intelligent lyrics striking just the correct balance between righteous fury and praising Jah. “Liberal Oppressor” is a self affirming stance on facing adversity whilst Prime Minister David Cameron’s refusal to acknowledge that Jamaica has a legitimate case for reparations leads to Kabaka Pyramid telling us that Jamaica is still being oppressed by the UK, a fitting introduction to his song “Never Gonna Be A Slave”.
He also does a decent version of Bob Marley’s “Trench Town Rock”, prompting a sing along from the appreciative audience. A heartfelt version of my “Mi Alright” also goes down really well, the original features Chronixx on vocals so the bass player takes over these duties to deliver this ode to being thankful for life’s blessings. As a nod to his friend, Kabaka also sings some of the Chronixx tune “Capture Land” again allowing the knowledgeable Brighton Reggae crowd to sing out.
After an uplifting and vibrant set, they finish with “Well Done”, perhaps his most well known song, and a tune that should establish him alongside Protoje, Chronixx, Jah 9 and Iba Mahr as the latest vanguard of positive Roots Reggae artists around.
Hopefully the rest of the UK tour will be well promoted as Kabaka Pyramid and his band deserve to be seen and heard not just by Reggae fans in the know but by gig goers in general.