Half Pint ADD

Review: Half Pint in London, UK @ Hootananny 7/18/2013

08/30/2013 by Angus Taylor

Review: Half Pint in London, UK @ Hootananny 7/18/2013


Jahrevelationmuzik sound operator and promoter Cecil Reuben’s nights at the Brixton Hootananny have been a bloodline for live reggae in London since 2008. So this summer it was good to see normal service resume with a series of Jamaican superstars announced for the venue again.

Ironically the first big act of the season was the diminutive pure singjay Half Pint. And when you consider that at least a few at the Hootananny were nursing their disappointment at the previous day’s Beres Hammond tour cancellation, his vibes levelling was a timely choice. Such uplifting songs on vintage 60s rhythms, updated for the 80s dancehall, and delivered in a voice akin to a less acrobatic Barrington Levy, were a tonic in London’s near tropical heat.

The support was another visiting Jamaican, Stikki Tantafari. Contrastingly tall, broad and dressed in a white shirt and head-wrap lined with red, gold and green, his granular deejay style recalled Jah Mason and Pressure Buss Pipe. He literally began to turn up the temperature with a mix of reality (No Hand Out and Stop Try) and romantic sides (Love Inna Harmony).

By his departure the venue had become so hot that the audience poured outside into the garden during the band change. Five minutes later they had to rush back in because Half Pint was on stage in a snakeskin pattern jacket singing his smash Greetings (a song he actually recorded in London in 1986). Throughout a one hour and twenty minute set that included hit after hit - Landlord, Pouchie Lou, Officer, Level The Vibes, Victory and Winsome - the crowd supplied unprompted harmonies to every chorus. Between songs the African call of the ancestors and shouts of “Gwaan Half Pint, mash it up” could be heard, while the humble guest added further nice touches to show his appreciation for the locale. He dedicated ladies’ favourite Substitute LoverTo London where it take off. In Jamaica they know it but London, number one”.

To be honest, the relentless upliftment and the sweltering heat were such that it was difficult to recall full details of the second half of the concert past the midnight mark. How the Mighty Atom band soldiered through unfazed was anyone’s guess. Only when Half Pint removed his shades was it clear how much he was sweating and what an effort it was for him. He closed by reminding everyone that we are all One Big Family.

Even when singing realness, Half Pint is the very definition of feel good music. “This man does not short change the fans” was the assessment of compère Mandingo at the end.