Macka B & Dubheart – Review

Live music review; OMNISHAMBLES: Macka B/ Dubheart, Sat 7th Feb 2015 @ Mr. Kyps, Poole.

It’s cool to be asked to start a blog for the Gigs & Bands webzine. I used to write a punk fanzine for the local scene and it’s great to get back in to this, so here goes…

I’m going to start with a review of a show I saw at Mr. Kyps in Poole, Sat 7th Feb. That of Powerful long serving roots reggae master Macka B (& his tight backing band) with support from local reggae legends Dubheart. 

I’m eagerly at Kyps nice and early to catch Dubheart who are starting at 8:45pm and am even greeted by a few of the members on the door, who say ‘thanks for coming’ to a few of us as we walk in. That’s Dubheart! friendly, down to earth, welcoming and not about ego (which is very refreshing) Having a sunk a couple of beers (also refreshing) I’m completely in the mood for some peace loving reggae roots music. The venue seems surprisingly bare but is filling up gradually…

Dubheart hit the stage and open up with a nice soothing instrumental number. There’s a usual feeling of people who seem a bit nervous to get in to it as the music starts (no fault of the bands), but gradually the braver ones stride forward and seem to be enjoying the free dance floor space. Daddy U on keyboards is up front, playing the ‘riddims’ and seems wise and graceful in his playing. Vocalist Tenja appears for the second number and brings the band to life with his well experienced and friendly reggae chants as he strides up and down the stage with confidence. 

I’m very familiar with Dubheart and am never disappointed; they've worked very hard over the last few years to carve a reputation out for themselves in the reggae music scene. They are renowned over Europe, having won the Rototom Reggae Contest and played many massive festivals on an international level.

As the dance floor starts filling up, people really start to let go and we’re there!! back in that lovely place where we can all dance and feel united, Dubheart bring the night to life with their happy vibe and peace loving lyrics… (I sound like such a hippy) But I love their music.

For me, with reggae, ‘I'm all about that bass’ and founding member Mark Sheperd (aka Red-I-Lion) plays that bass exceptionally tight and note perfect, but half way through I become thoroughly absorbed by a different rhythm; the bongo playing of Steve ‘Bongo’…I tune in to the bongo’s and realize there’s a whole new dance going on, and a different aspect to the sound, the bongo gives it an almost tribal edge.

Drummer Gavin Sant is always great to watch, you can tell he loves his job and is very driven, and guitarist Richy Dub stands cool and professional as his driving reggae rhythms accompany the keyboard. Tenja’s dreads are soon untied from the bunch on his head and he’s swinging them around whilst jiving to the beats, Daddy U joins him in a dance which seems to hype up the crowd a notch or two.

All in all another fantastic show from Dubheart, always a very up-lifting performance and great to listen them through a nice big sound system.  I’m very excited to hear what the guys have been doing in the studio with legendary reggae producer, performer and owner of Ariwa records; Mad Professor. This collaboration is further confirmation  of Dubhearts placement in the dub reggae scene as serious players.

Watch out for any more full live band performances and keep an eye peeled for their Countryman sound system nights, where they whack out the Dub plates . Keep in the loop @ www.dubheart.co.uk

Chris Brown aka DJ Dapper Dan, plays the tunes in between and a big shout out to the Rock ’n’ Roll town crier who seems to pop up everywhere. This guy is a great selector of tunes and good on the mike.

 And so on to the headlining act, Dubheart have set the scene perfectly for Macka B who always smashes it. I’ve been watching Macka B for a few years now, my first time was a notable performance at the Endorse it in Dorset Festival main stage, possibly 2010 and since then I’ve always been committed to seeing him whenever he plays a local show.

He rouses the crowd in to a roots reggae frenzy and his presence is fantastic. His band are exceptionally tight players and well trained professionals who hype up the vocalists presence, in the way many bands of this genre do so well.

I move my way up to the front of the now packed Mr. Kyps as Macka B chants out the lyrics in glorious Jamaican ‘The Roots is in Town, got to get a vibe, got to get a vibe, got to get a good vibe’ the feeling takes me away, this music is medicine.

The song I’m most eager to hear is played next, the wonderful ‘Step Up’ with lyrics ‘Step up, stop wasting your time, climb up, climb up, everybody climb up’ a fantastic up-lifting tune, you can feel the positive energy in the venue as people in the crowd chant along to the powerful  lyrics.

 The 5 piece crack on with classic Macka B numbers ‘Ganja’ and ‘More than a Sex Machine’ respecting the herbs and the ladies in the house, before Macka B takes his pro-veganism stance with ‘Macca B don’t want a Big Mac’ & ‘What I eat’

Next up comes the announcement of Bob Marley’s 70th birthday (which would have been Friday 6th Feb) and the crowd erupts as Macka B plays tribute with the Marley classic ‘Jammin’ and his own tune ‘Everybody loves Bob Marley’

Macka B loves to engage the crowd and does so next with explaining that Roots music is not dead with the tune ‘Roots Ragga’ this picks up the crowd even more and the energy is smashing leading in to ‘Warrior Style’ another of my absolute favourites, this song makes you feel powerful and able to rise up, a true masterpiece.

 As Macka B leaves the stage his fantastic backing band keep the tune going and you can appreciate their talent as instrumentalists. The guitarist shakes his dreads and is a very lively player, always smiling and has a great presence of his own. The drummer is lost in the moment as all beats and rhythms flow naturally. The keyboard player is transfixed with his playing, he plays two keyboards, one with the driving reggae tune, the other with sound effects. The bass player is a joy to watch, always looks happy and rarely opens his eyes, feeling the vibe.

When Macka B returns, he continues with his political stance, stating that it’s not good to glorify violence in your music and that peace and love is the best message for a happier world.  The crowd respond to this well and a nice feeling is created as Macka B jokes ‘People carry around their 45 pistol, do you want to see my 45?’ …he pulls out a 45 rpm vinyl and the band kick in to the tune ‘Never played a 45’ Creating a fantastic atmosphere. The next tune up is ‘Ganja Lady’ followed by a tribute to another great Reggae music legend; Pete Tosh as we’re treated to a cover of ‘Legalize it’

The group finish off the night well with an up-beat bit of ska music before the heartfelt

‘Proud of Mandela’ with its feel good, happy finale of ‘Jumping for Joy, Jumping for Jah’

An amazing performance by a very talented, experienced educator. Macka B has been doing this for thirty years and his presence and power never disappoints.

You know what you’re getting with Macka B and his band, a full on energetic, positive sunshine roots reggae performance played by professionals, which will leave you feeling uplifted. Since the first time I saw him live, I’ve always kept an eye on when he’s next coming to town and I highly recommend this music to you. It’s good for the soul.

 Cheers for reading my review and keep up to date with Macka B by visiting his website www.mackab.com

 Jah love!

One thought on “Macka B & Dubheart – Review

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