16 August 2017
The main talking point on the fourth night, which marked the half way stage of the festival, was the immense return of Toots Hibbert with his Maytals, a giant in the world of reggae who lived up to his title. After having overcome some difficulties recently during his American tour, where it was reported that he had an incident which caused him to leave the stage, Toots stopped off in Europe to make the most of the warm welcome of the public wherever he goes. From the moment they stepped on stage with Pressure drop, the masses lauded him and provided the perfect conditions for a great performance. At 74 years old, he still has quite a powerful soulful voice. The set list then provided us with Louie louie and Sweet & dandy. Toots also gave a nod to the Skatalites with a version of the Guns of Navarone, oscillated by his voice and followed by the public singing the chorus (a song which, as a side note, was sung and interpreted by the Specials the night before).
Moving on to other matters, Funky Kingston were missing a bit of rhythmic prowess in compared to their record, despite this they excelled thanks to the explosiveness of their musicians and the acoustic guitar played by Mr. Hibbert. Speeding and slowing down, the rhythmic pairing of the legends, Jackie Jackson on the bass and Paul Douglas on the drums, maintained the high energy for the prodigious vocals of Toots. The finale was full of fast paced action with Take me home county road, Monkey man and 54-46 was my number. We mustn’t forget the memory of Mr.Hibbert who was more than happy to drench the first rows with water just after having finished the concerts.
Following this, two absolutely brilliant debut appearances were on offer at the festival. Stick Figure, from California, struck a perfect balance between power and captivating sound by proving a repertoire full of positively great vibes which were visibly appreciated by the public. The presence of Treesha, a singer born in Kenya but adopted as German, gave out “Jamaican” vibes from the onset. He had a truly talented voice and an assured presence about him on stage. Between original sounds and covers of Marcia Griffiths, Sister Nancy y Dawn Penn, his routine was very convincing thanks to the optimal graft of Evolution, the band which stayed on stage on the arrival of Kymani Marley and Gentleman as well as during Treesha’s part on vocals, in tandem with Tamika. Since having brought out the album Conversations together last year, the heir to Bob Marley and the German artist started a tour together this year with a prospective performance that includes songs from their records and various classics from the repertoire of both artists.
The entrance onto the stage was thrilling, with the Evolution kicking things off at full speed and the two rivaling each other in intensity. Likewise, Gentleman didn’t think twice about showing his affection to the public in a kind of embrace which made it clear for everyone to see that he was overjoyed to return after such a long time. Unfortunately, in terms of vocals, neither artists were at their best, but they made up for this shortage with their energetically spirited performance. In Kymani’s case he didn’t come up short with his covers of his father, the first of which was No woman no cry, followed by Iron lion Zion and Is this love. A great version of Dem gone by Gentleman concluded the repertoire which transported us back, with his warmth and energy, to the best of times of new roots from a decade ago.
Translated by Lewis Allen