Israel Vibration ADD

Review: Israel Vibration & The Roots Radics Band in Hamburg - June 10th 2015

06/21/2015 by Gardy Stein

Review: Israel Vibration & The Roots Radics Band in Hamburg - June 10th 2015

ISRAEL VIBRATION & The Roots Radics Band in Hamburg, Germany @ Fabrik

Respect to whom it is due!  

Last Wednesday was a memorable one in Hamburg. Not only did temperatures finally rise to a level that allowed for leaving home in T-shirt, but also (and more importantly) was Israel Vibration in town! The living legends Cecil "Skelly" Spence and Lacelle "Wiss" Bulgin are on a Play It Real - Tour, promoting their most recent album and at the same time celebrating 40 years on stage. 40 Years! Supported and backed by the equally legendary Roots Radics Band (names like Flabba Holt on bass and Steve Golding on guitar should send a shiver down any fanatic's spine), we knew we were in for some musical goodness!

Even though only around 250 people had found their way to the venue Fabrik when local sound-hero Crucial B opened the evening, those who had come were a) devout Roots-Reggae-fans who could fully appreciate the memorability of the night and b) just a wonderful audience. First proof of the latter was the minute-long ovations (everyone was standing anyway) when Skelly and Wiss entered stage after the band had played a little Intro close to 10pm. What a moment! Seeing them struggle with their crutches to reach the mics left me and certainly countless others in awe of their dedication and perseverance. And to know that they, due to a polio infection in early childhood, had to live with this paralysis for all their lives and still do what they are doing can evoke nothing but our deepest respect!

The singers took turns standing at the front, delivering timeless hits like Why Worry or Ball Of Fire. From the new album Play It Real, they introduced us to gems like Beautiful, Leisure, IRS and Happiness. Yes, at times their voices trembled or even cracked a bit, but the sheer power of the melodies and the sweet harmonies of background singers Bunny Brissett and Althea Hewitt evened that out. Again and again, it was this great band that made us fall into these beats, this music… Apart from those mentioned above, Patrick Anderson (drums), Dwight Pinkney (guitar), Horace James (keys) and T-Bird (keys) carried us through the evening.

And I have to give it up for the audience again – it was such a relaxed vibe, everyone gave everyone else enough room to dance, move, enjoy the night and sing along with the masters. When they left stage after almost an hour of performing, the people present applauded with all their might, stamping their feet and thumping the stage until manager Buffy came back to announce a world premiere, "the first time ever acoustic cover" by Skelly and Wiss. A hush fell over the crowd when stage-hands set up two chairs in the front, a guitar leaned on each. Again accompanied by respectful applause, the two singers appeared once more, sat down, grabbed the instruments and started playing the beautiful Dancing In The Rain on their own! While their tentative notes were boosted by 500 hands clapping in time with the beat, Skelly started to sing, backed by Wiss, until both stood up and finished the song upright. Again, what a moment! It flowed right into Same Song which the singers delivered in unity. Asked how it feels to perform with someone that he's known pretty much all his life, Wiss stated later "It feels natural, like brothers growing up, you know. It's a good vibe, a good energy, everything is blessed!"

And blessed has been everyone present, too. Let's just hope that, the next time foundation artists pass through, more people will be there to represent and show some respect!