Review & Photos: Raging Fyah in Hamburg, Germany 4/10/2013
04/12/2013 by Gardy Stein
Review: Raging Fyah in Hamburg, Germany @ Fabrik 10/4/2013
Spring hasn't made it to Germany yet. It's still cold, grey and dull, even though we already have mid-April. So, what could be more welcome than a musical highlight that brings heat, color and excitement to the people more or less patiently enduring this northern climate?
And indeed, that's what Raging Fyah did. The Jamaican band that is on Revival Tour after a spectacular tourstart at the Reggaeville Easter Special in Dortmund 2 weeks ago paid a visit to the Fabrik in Hamburg last Wednesday to share some of their irie vibes.
Despite the fact that it was a mid-week event, around 200 spectators, a heterogeneous mix of conscious Reggae-Veterans, hip Youngsters, experienced scene-adepts and curious newbies, had made their way to the venue. Preparations were duly concluded, and without much ado the band appeared on stage at 9:30 pm to kick it off.
Starting out with I and I, one of the first things that struck you as special was the vocal opulence – there appeared to be a choir on stage along with the band! Taking a closer look, it became clear that in fact it was the band who, apart from formidably controlling their instruments, had 4 microphones lined up in front of them. As if to proof that they were not only decoration but meant to be used, the band's latest single Nah Look Back united their voices in perfectly arranged harmonies that ignited a dancing fever in the listeners.
Without pausing, the song gave way to Step Outta Babylon and a first moment of glory for the drum and bass section. The last sequence intertwined with a keyboarded intro, and those who followed the constant rise of the band over the last few years knew what was coming next: Irie Vibe! Its contagious hook had virtually everyone present singing along, and the call and answer of "Yeeeeeo, yeeeo yeeeo yeeeo!" echoed through the hall. When the musicians then brought it down low (dubwise!), the people were greeted with an unexpected "Moin Moin! Wie gehts euch?". This simple gesture of respect made the audience feel at eye level with these likeable young men, and cheers accompanied the transition to Music Isn't Biased, their next song.
Expressing their joy to play in Hamburg for the first time, lead singer Kumar Bent (Kumz) then took off his guitar and announced World Crisis. Performed in a slow pace, this was one of the most touching songs, due both to its thought-provoking lyrics and once more the manifold voices that – in combination with the beautiful light arrangement – lent a magic touch to the situation. Unseen by the crowd, engineer Mahlon (Debo Ras) did a great job in the background, controlling both mic and mixer. He immersed the people in the sounds of Barriers, a dub-heavy piece that saw the introduction of the band members. In turn, drummer Anthony Watson (Toni), keyboarder Demar Gayle (Kojo) and lead guitarist Courtland White (Gizmo) delivered stunning solos, and after well-deserved applause was heard for them and "Mr. Engineer", Kumar and bassist Delroy Hamilton (Pele) tried to introduce each other simultaneously, laughing about the 2 or 3 attempts it took to work out. These little interactions among themselves revealed more than anything else that the group's obvious joy and love for what they are doing is not a show but authentic and natural.
Another recent release, Dread was next, followed by explicit dedications to the ladies: Far Away (in case you haven't seen it yet, check out the official video!) and First Love, the latter destined to be the introductory song for the upcoming album. Speeding up the pace a little, Running Away brought across an important message – if you run from yourself you will lose! Actually, this was one of the songs that make Raging Fyahs music such a pleasure to listen to, and the crowd clearly enjoyed dancing to it.
On stage for one hour by now, the end of this song was the first time that the music stopped completely. Talking about fire raging! After a fresh round of applause, the skillful work of Mahlon created an atmosphere in which Behold was able to spread its musical splendor. It is a religious piece and thus a perfect opener for the subsequent Judgement Day, title track of their 2011 debut album. There were enough "rebels" present to add their voices to the chorus line, delighting in the bass talking to the crowd once more.
As swiftly as they had entered, the band then left the stage. Tour manager Jaszol picked up the mic and made people shout "RAGING FYAH" over and over again, until they reappeared and delivered another musical masterpiece by the name of Stand Firm. Goosebumps! Followed by the split-up-song Sunshine, movement was back among the spectators who were then surprised with a special guest. Ray Darwin made a short appearance and performed his song People's Choice before the band dived into their own Conversation. Their last song Karma pushed emotions high once more so that the final became a feast. People fell in to the beat, jumping, clapping hands and cheering the band when all 6 members united on stage for a kind of warriors dance, again multiplying the good vibes already present. And even though this was the definite end of the concert, the excitement was not over. Instead of retiring backstage, the band joined their fans up front to take pictures, sign autographs and answer questions. Zero airs and graces, 100% lovableness!
What else can I say? Raging Fyah is a unique experience you just have to make. So, in case they perform close to you, don't miss the chance. Even now, hours and hours after the show, their voices, melodies and uplifting lyrics stay on my mind in a pleasant reverberation. As long as Reggae has such vibrant and capable ambassadors, the beauty of thus hand-made and heart-felt music will be appreciated by audiences worldwide.
Lift up your voices in unity for something positive! Summer is near…