It’s the Easter Bank holiday so it’s time for the annual London International Ska Festival. This is the 28th one, and there’s the usual line up of old and new artists representing the first through to the third wave of Ska and Rocksteady.
Support comes from The Delirians, a Ska and Rocksteady group from East LA. They’re made up of drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and keyboards / Hammond organ. Playing an infectious blend of Ska they perform a set of original songs that they release through their own Angel City Records. There’s some great Hammond organ playing throughout the set, with their cover version of the Sir Lancelot classic “Shame And Scandal” going down particularly well. A good support slot that gets people dancing.
This trip aboard the Dixie Queen sees music legend U Roy arrive on stage to say it’s his first time headlining on a boat. Looking resplendent in his red outfit he receives a huge reception from the all ages crowd. With The Delirians playing as his pick up band, he plays a lively set that includes “OK Fred” and “Wear You To The Ball”, his 1970 classic song that helped usher in the era of the Jamaican deejay.
It’s a great gig anyway and the novelty of being on a boat as it cruises the Thames makes it even better. Occasionally the boat lists from side to side and the musicians on stage sway with the motion. U Roy makes reference to this and encourages people to jump around even more. This annual Ska festival always has a wealth of great acts over the course of the weekend, but if you get a chance try and jump aboard the Dixie Queen next year for what always proves to be a festival hightlight.