Support comes from Captain Accident & The Disasters, a Ska and Reggae band from Cardiff. They deliver an up-tempo set that gets the audience moving as the venue fills slowly fills up for the main event.
Three years ago while on tour in America, Toots Hibbert was struck in the head by a bottle thrown at him by a drunk 19 year old audience member. Understandably shaken, he took a long time off from performing but is now back in the road doing what he’s done best for the last 40 years.
Toots’ daughter Leba comes on stage first to deliver a short solo set that highlights her strong voice. It’s a modern set of R ‘n’ B type numbers set to a gentle Reggae groove and she succeeds in hyping up the crowd for her father.
Toots and the band get a huge reception when they appear. The band consists of drums, bass, lead guitar, keyboards and three backing singers including his daughter. Toots himself occasionally plays acoustic guitar on some of the songs but they first launch into “Pressure Drop” to a huge cheer from the crowd and from there he keep us entertained and dancing with a set of stone cold Ska and Reggae classics.
He completely dominates the stage, running from one side to the other, whooping with obvious delight and keeping the crowd hyped up whenever he senses people are settling down. It’s great to hear classic tunes which still sound great live. Highlights were “Sweet And Dandy” and “Funky Kingston” which prompt sing-alongs from the crowd, as does his version of “Country Road” and “Reggae Got Soul”.
It’s also brilliant to hear my favourite Toots song “Dog War” (or “Broadway Jungle” depending on which version you’ve got), an irresistible slice of bouncy Ska released on the late Prince Buster’s label in 1965.
At one point during “Monkey Man”, another of his well known songs, an exuberant fan invades the stage to jump around but is man-handled by the bouncers. Toots good naturedely tried to intervene to let the guy dance around, which shows he’s still up for people getting on stage despite the scare he received three years ago.
This entertaining set is finally topped off with an encore of “54-46 That’s My Number” which lasts for almost twenty minutes, with extended solos from the band and lots of crowd dancing and participation. Proper legends of the Jamaican music scene like Jimmy Cliff and Toots Hibbert are always worth going to see. These artists know how to entertain a crowd and hopefully will be around for a good while yet.