The evening is hosted by Daddy Fridge, longstanding Dancehall DJ from London who introduces a variety of male and female artists singing a couple of tunes each. The brief nature of each PA means that no one particularly stands out for me but they’re all decent enough and it serves as an entertaining warm up as the venue fills up.
Beres Hammond has been recording since the early Seventies and has released a string of albums showcasing his brand of laid back, soulful Reggae. Tonight he’s playing in Brighton for the first time ever and has brought along his Harmony House band comprising drums, bass, two keyboard players, guitar, tenor saxophone and two female backing singers.
They’re a great band who show their versatility by backing Beres with uptempo Ska, easy listening Lovers Rock and harder edged Dancehall, the adept guitarist relishing his solos and gurning like he’s auditioning for Spinal Tap. Beres is on great form, a sprightly 60 years of age, he jumps around, runs from one end of the stage to the other and is soon sweating as he performs a perfect selection of his back catalogue. The Concorde crowd respond enthusiastically, singing along with pretty much all the songs and dancing for the whole gig.
Stand out songs, and ones that serve as a perfect introduction to the man if you’re unfamiliar with his work, are “Can You Play Some More”, his huge Dancehall hit from 1990 “Tempted To Touch” and the classic “Rock Away” at the end of which he even manages a decent impression of Buju Banton’s gruff rock stone voice.
My only gripe is that his set started at ten and with the eleven o’clock curfew at the venue it means we get a strict sixty minute set. Still, it’s good to see a Reggae don like Beres Hammond coming to Brighton and performing with a real love for his music and his fans.