Review, Videos & Photos: Reggaeville Easter Special in Hamburg 2013
03/30/2013 by Gardy Stein
Life has its ups and downs, everyone knows that. And sometimes, hills of joy and valleys of sorrow can exist quite close to each other. The disappointment of Anthony B's appearance being cancelled was no doubt bitter for his fans, some of whom even decided to sell their tickets and not come to the show at all. Wrong decision!
Those who witnessed the REGGAEVILLE EASTER SPECAL last thursday in Hamburg's Fabrik did have the extraordinary joy to experience Busy Signal, Perfect Giddimani, and Silly Walks Discotheque as well as its very special surprise guest (see below). Thus, we are definitely talking about the up-part of life here.
Doors opening at 8pm, within one hour the location was already half full. A vibrant warm-up by local heroes Silly Walks welcomed the arrivals. Spirits thus gently raised, master of ceremony Joscha was greeted with expectant smiles and cheers when he announced the performer who was to stand in for the absent Anthony B. Backed by the band House of Riddim (whose drummer Sam Gilly is producing his new album due this year), Perfect Giddimani jumped on stage at 9:30 pm and exploded into Rasta Rebel, carrying away the people who had assembled below and even filled the ranks upstairs by now. Without pausing, he continued with Hold on Buju , a song dedicated to "di General" Buju Banton who is presently serving a prison sentence, and Absolute Blessings.
Only then he slowed down a bit, greeting the massive and stating that "it's an honour to be here, beautiful people!". The next songs, Smile and the melodious 30 Pieces proved that Perfect masters harmonic singing as well as his bawling Dancehall-style.
The pace accelerated once more when he dashed through Truth & Rights and Bad Boy, giving way to the obligatory Ganja-Anthem Smoke a Spliff, at the end of which he made people sing along "I love marijuana, and marijuana loves me!".
Singing along turned into shouting along when the next tune Sidewalk started. 'Let's curse!' seemed to be its motto, and the hall jumped with Perfect to cries of "Bomboclaat". His performance reached its climax after Cyaan Lock It Off, when House of Riddim started the legendary Sleng Teng riddim. Gripped by the beat, people cheered the subsequent No Badda Mi and Handcart Bwoy to the fullest, clearly demonstrating that these are the songs they know and like best. Applause for the latter fell in to the beat of the base drum, while Giddimani delivered Reggae Music. After 60 minutes of dynamic performance the artist released the audience into a looong break, filled with a superb selection by Silly Walks.
While gaps were closing in front of stage, the Hi Voltage Band, who – just as the headliner himself – reached here "straight from yard", could be observed during their final preparations for the show. Finally, at 11:15pm, the big moment had come. Joscha announced the man who lived through a turbulent last year and made his first European appearance since he'd been released from prison in November 2012: Busy Signal!
To the spherical sounds of the Creation Intro (by Peter Tosh), the artist made his appearance, hooded and sunglassed, to shouts of "Freedom!". From the first second he went full speed, combining to one piece Step out, Anger Management and Badman Place on a hard-rock-infused musical framework. Thus heated up, Busy took off his jacket and ploughed on with Hustling, giving the massive no chance to stop jumping. While Unknown Number enabled the people finally to catch their breath, up next was a medley of Pon di Edge & Stamma. Admitting that he "missed di gal dem so long", Mr. Signal spread some Soca flavour with Up In Her Belly, then paused to greet his fans. "Europe is much colder than where mi come from" he said, "but I feel at home thanks to you. A mi yard this!".
In Too Much Gun, Busy verified his claim that even though his appearance had changed (he obviously lost weight during his time in prison), his abilities didn't: like a lyrical machinegun he dropped word after word and line after line! Then, to the backdrop of the Answer Riddim, he assured us that "we naa leave from di roots" and invited everyone to Come Shock Out.
By now he had made the estimated 1000 people feel completely at home so that the next piece was an intimate experience. Reggae Music Again had virtually everyone singing along, building up vibes by repeating the chorus over and over again along with the singer. Not allowing this mood to evaporate, he dedicated the subsequent song to all the ladies, expressing once more how happy he was to be able to play for his fans again. Come Over reached an audience lyrically firm enough to join in not only the chorus but also the verses. After that, Busy went straight for the next peak (talking about ups!) with One More Night and Nightshift, followed by a powerful version of These Are The Days. This song saw the introduction of the fantastic Hi Voltage Band with Lamont 'Monty' Savory on guitar, Aeion 'Yaaka' Hoilett on bass, Kirk 'Kirkledove' Bennett on drums and Brenton 'Brent' Messado on keyboard.
Another special treat, this great performer started his next song Jamaica Love with a text rewritten into a dedication to his German fans. A sea of lighters flashed up and people raised their voices once more to join in the chorus – pure emotion! During the following mix of Take You To Jamaica and Defense, the audience was jumping once more, greeting enthusiastically Busy's excursions into songs like Rivers of Babylon, Oh When The Saints and Wings of a Dove.
This left only one song missing. Gathering all his energies once more, the artist headed for the last summit. You could feel that he meant every word he sang when he fervently intoned Nah Go A Jail again, pushing the crowd to another frenzy. Reminding us to "stay focused and stay out of trouble", Busy Signal left after visibly enjoying 75 minutes of his freedom on stage.
Actually, this review would end here, were it not for Silly Walks' surprise mentioned above. The aftershow-party with Olli on the turntables was in full swing when Joscha announced yet another show act. None less than Gentleman was greeted by an exploding crowd – surprise accomplished! Although he performed not longer than 20 minutes, he managed to squeeze in many of his famous tunes and promoted his new album ‘New Day Dawn’, due to be released on April 19th. And after this last performance, people kept enjoying the music and the dancing and the party went on and on and on…
This was one of those nights you wish would never end. As the excitement of the evening slowly wanes and fatigue takes over, pictures and sounds combine into fresh impressions that will serve as pleasant memories from now on. Life has its hills and valleys – appreciate them!
CHECK THIS VIDEO... BUSY SIGNAL TALKS ABOUT HIS SHOW IN HAMBURG: