It sipple out deh…

As I said, it’s been a while, nearly six months in fact, since I got along to see some music, and I’ve really missed it – but I’ve been back on it again with a Lee Perry / LCD Soundsystem double header in Bristol last weekend. Oh yes.

Scratch needs no introduction from anyone but himself and of the number of gigs I have lined up over the coming weeks, this was probably the most eagerly anticipated. One or two people had wondered why he had chosen to play at the rather genteel Colston Hall rather than a bona fide “rock venue”, and I can see why, but to be fair to the organisers they’d removed a load of seats from the stalls and it made a pretty decent-sized hall for people to stand and watch in. It worked quite well.

There were a couple of reggae acts on first from the 2Kings,er, Crew and they were actually pretty good. Was quite taken by Prince Jammo and Ceefax, and even got a recording of them (more of that, later…)

At about 10:15, resplendent in mirror cap, lame shirt, camo shorts and hooped leg warmers, the grand old gent shuffled genially onto stage, his hair dyed scarlet, and ambled through a suitably bonkers set that lasted an hour a half.

With a full band, including a brass section, jaw-shuddering bass and i-threes style female backing, he played a few Wailers songs (Exodus and Small Axe stood out) a few of his own numbers that I recognised (Sun is Shining and Inspector Gadget) and, bizarrely, a long song about sex in the tub.

I had mused on these very pages that I might be in for some sort of Davy Graham-esque car crash gig, given the man’s notorious eccentricity, but I am happy to report that he’s mellowed with age and seemed affable and having a good time. He only went off on one wonky diatribe about how we all come from Neptune and the origin of mankind.

“Y’unnerstan?”

he finished with, and there was a discernible awkward pause before the obligatory whoops and hollers from the stalls. I’m not sure they did understand, Lee…

There was a lengthy delay before the encore, as he changed outfit (red, mirror loon pants, as you’re asking) but a whomping “War inna Babylon” finished the evening off on a massive high point.

I forgot to take my camera and was unable to operate my recorder properly (!), so I don’t have anything of my own, but I did find this. It’s a recording taken earlier this year, which also features members of the Congos and Max Romeo, as well as the Upsetter himself.

(Brrrrrip! Brrrrip!)

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