18 August 2016
Now that reggae is becoming more and more international, it’s totally normal that two important bands from Jamaica shared the stage with two truly top modern European sounds on the 5th night of Rototom Sunsplash.
We started in the early evening with the legendary Congos, fronted by Cedric Myton, almost 40 years since the release of their master-work, The heart of Congos, produced by Lee Perry. This incredible group has gone through some difficulties in order to continue playing till today with the charm of their vocal harmonies practically untouched. In their beautiful concert, Cedric Myton sang most of the songs, apart from a couple of them that were done by Ashanti Roy. The Rainy night in Georgia version by Brook Benton was performed by the voice of Watty Burnett, who changed the lyrics to Rainy night in Portland (surely the rainiest place in Jamaica). Anyway, we can highlight that the four magical voices of the Congos captured the crowd’s attention from the very first tune, right up until the last; Row fisherman. Their energy was totally contagious and thanks to the dances that went with their incredible performance, while the backing band played flawlessly.
Ian and Roger Lewis, the two longest living members of Inner Circle, since the tragic death of Jacob Miller, have returned to their previous level, with the songs Bad boys and La la la la song from the 90’s. The two songs marked the end of a concert defined by their dynamics as a band, energetic rhythms and by the way they usually entertain audiences in the USA (as they have lived in Miami for a long time). Between the guitar solos and their massive sound, they dedicated a special moment to the memory of Jacob, with magnificent versions of Forward Jah Children, A chapter a day y Temenent yard, the last of these featuring the new Chronixx lyrics.
After the energy from The Congos and Inner Circle, the vibes went through the roof with the Rototom Sunsplash debut of Gentleman’s Dub Club from the UK. They push forward a mix of roots reggae, techno and electronic rhythms and like to play on stage in their uniform of shirts and ties, appearing as though they work at the stock market on Wall Street and have just finished work. The lead singer, Jonathan Scractchley, erupted with potent rhythms and changes in gears in their music that enlivened the crowd, who danced a lot and gave massive ovations. At one point the Gents (as they are called by their fans) revealed a large EU flag with the aim of clarifying their against the brexit vote. The Rototom crowd felt the vibrations and energy of the band from Leeds, who delivered a great debut show here in Benicàssim.
The last show of the night we witnessed the definite recognition of the French Dub Inc. On our stage, thanks to a great show also set at this year’s level of live concerts, for example those of Alborosie y Damian Marley. The way the crowd welcomed them onto the stage showed that they clearly have a lot of fans who aren’t from France, although the French massive at Sunsplash is considerable. The two frontmen Komlan y Boucklour were in perfect form and the backing band provided the right energy like the time when Skarra Mucci also joined them in the mix of their recent They want riddim. The response from the crowd to their show made us realise that the best European reggae has no reason to envy it’s current Jamaican counterpart.