Thank you for coming, thank you for going…

In another strange “World Comes to my Doorstep” moment, a genuine rock legend turned up at our special old Guildhall this week. Legendary producer, co-inventor of a whole genre, native of the galaxies, notorious arsonist and truly erratic genius Lee “Scratch” Perry showed up in my hometown.

The strangest of strange privileges.

Lee Perry, Guildhall

In these sort of events, I tend to worry self-consciously about a poor turnout and in what fashion the great and the worthy will be treated by the feckless citizens of my hometown, but I didn’t need to, of course. The chambers were pretty much full and the welcome was enthusiastic. In fact, the demographic was pretty strange – possibly the whitest, baldest gig I’ve been to for ages, with a good few middle-aged chaps who probably should know better, acting like they were indeed ina Kingston ghetto.

Pre-gig tweets (yes, he’s on Twitter) were a mixture of triumphant braggadocio (“MUSIC THAT HEALS YOUR SOUL, CLEARS YOUR HEAD, HEALS YOUR HEART AND LIFTS YOUR SPIRIT!”), photographs of his hairdresser and requests not to bring him greens (“BETTER TO BRING ME LITTLE MIRRORS THAT I ALWAYS USE TO DECORATE MY OUTFITS”) but in there he also named his band ERM (Easy Riddim Maker). At times, they looked a little like a Chuck Berry-style pick up band but were on the whole pretty tight, and were into their third number before Perry paraded onstage, resplendent in gold-braided admiral’s jacket, pink hair and beard and mirror-decorated cap.

In truth, he did look a little slower and older than the last time I saw him but as he’s now an unlikely 82 years old, clearly we’re just glad he’s here and still out there (in all senses). He sauntered through a few almost lucid songs at first but warmed up gradually.

In the end we were treated to a wholehearted and comfortably grooved set of unique takes from a man who was there. There were a few kung fu kicks, some malarkey with a lighter and the occasional break down in communications with his band, but an overall sense of warmth from the stage and from the punters. He’d played for about an hour and a half before he moseyed offstage singing “Thank you for coming, thank you for going, in Jesus’ name…”

Police & Thieves

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: