Last night kicked off ATG’s 2 week concert extravaganza with a performance by Lee “Scratch” Perry at Sonar in Baltimore. For those of you who don’t know, Perry is a god in the reggae world. He was a pioneer of dub and produced works by acts like Bob Marley & The Wailers, and also a few tracks with The Clash.
Needless to say, we were very curious as to what he would be like live. The opening band, Dub is a Weapon, was ok, but extremely formulaic. Every song had only one bass lick, which never changed, a rhythm guitar part, which never changed, and a lead guitar matched with a trombone. Keep in mind that every song had a very similar beat, and with no vocals, it quickly got old. Not only that, but the members of the band were somewhat painful to watch dancing up on stage. As Austin put it, this band was like “they came from the suburbs, and are only a band because they found some rasta who also lives in their neighborhood.”
Then Scratch came out. All 4′ 11” of him, dressed in a white baseball jersey and wearing a hat topped with incense. Perry was being backed up by Dub is a Weapon, which was disappointing because we were already exhausted by their music. It featured the same repetition and formulas, and awkward dance moves as before, only this time with lyrics, weirds ones, but the music definetly took a backseat to what Perry was saying in between songs. Most of the songs were based around one phrase: “I love you.” And his ramblings, too, proclaimed his love for all. He blessed the crowd at one point, using his “foot, the boot and the root,” which was strangely reassuring. As the set wound down, and the incense above his head had all but burned up and added to the smoke already in the room, we were happy to leave, but all in all, it was a good time.
Here are a few tunes from Lee, though he sounds infinitely more crazy in concert (Tracks via Joe de Vivre)
All in all, a sweet concert and great start to senior project.
-Ryan (YES, actually Ryan)