Review & Photos: Chaka Demus & Pliers in Hamburg, Germany 11/28/2013
12/02/2013 by Gardy Stein
Chaka Demus & Pliers in Hamburg, Germany @ Waagenbau 11/28/2013
Back to the 90s! In case you've been in your late teens or early twenties by then, maybe just discovering the beauty of Reggae and the thrill of Dancehall, these words hold a promise of nostalgic fulfilment. A distant smile might steal across your lips while you remember the first dances you went to, the first mix tapes you purchased, the first concerts you visited, lighters and whistles ready…
Two names that are inextricably connected with these times are Chaka Demus & Pliers, actually the first Jamaican duo that had three consecutive top-hits in the British single-charts. Another first: last Thursday they were brought to Hamburg by Kingsley (Inna Di Dance) to revive the hype they created back then.
DJ Wayne, responsible for warm-up and the showcase itself, welcomed the visitors with an original selection that appealed to those who've been in the scene long enough to know and cherish their tunes: Silvercat, Buju, Ninjaman, Supercat, Bounty and Beenie, General Degree and many more blasted through the speakers!
By 11:15, the Waagenbau had filled up sufficiently for the DJ to announce the artists of the night. A little too quick they appeared on stage, so that some last-minute technical adjustments delayed the kick-off. When they were ready, Pliers started singing "She's a friend, she's a lover..." while Chaka Demus joined him in She Don't Let Nobody.
After this a bit half-hearted intro, both crowd and performers seemed to warm up more and more. The next tune was introduced by Chaka Demus as the outcome of a serious incident three years ago. He wrote it in hospital after a cardiac arrest had brought him on the verge of death. "There's a lot to give thanks for in life" he said, singing an emotional, heartfelt solo.
Lightening up the mood, they passed their greetings to the Africans in the place ("Oh nananana!") and made people dance to Gal Wine. The biggest response so far got their addictive cover of Twist And Shout, which had the massive sing and move in a frenzy; however, this was nothing compared to what happened when Chaka Demus came down with the words "Woman your love..." after Pliers had started Tease Me with an acapella version of the intro. It really is amazing that their voices still sound the same as (or maybe even better than) the original recordings!
Spirits thus soaring high, the crowd sang along word by word to Bam Bam and Murder She Wrote, celebrating each song for what they are: legend! Speaking of legends – before Chaka Demus closed the show with another solo in Chaka On The Move, Pliers intoned Bob Marleys One Love, moving everyone present to join him.
After about one hour of stage time, they retired backstage, not without telling their fans that they are back indeed: "We are still there! We are still doing great! We fit!" is the message they want to bring across. DJ Dynamite then took over for a decent aftershow-party that catapulted us back to modern Reggae & Dancehall... Kaboom!
Tour manager June received Reggaeville for a short interview after the show, in which the duo revealed that they are working on a new album that is planned for 2014. It is thus a productive time especially for John Taylor a.k.a. Chaka Demus, who has just released his 14-track Solo-Album Second Coming earlier this year. And their aspirations don't stop there. Both artists try to give back to the community they grew up in: while Everton Bonnet a.k.a. Pliers plans to establish an elders home, John is currently raising money to build a school in Waterhouse (Kingston). Big respect & success!
It's good to know that – once in a while – we can travel back through time and spend a whole night enjoying the tunes which used to be played on non-stop loop or until the recorder ate the tapes (at least in my case). Much more so with the original singers in front of us!!!
Thanx for coming ☺