So, after emigrating to New Zealand, to almost the very bottom of New Zealand, I had resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to get much live music any more, except for the odd Datsuns and maybe Goodshirt gig. So, I was very surprised to see Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry coming to town – I’d only been here a few weeks, and not knowing the frequency with which ‘international’ recording artistes visit these shores, I thought I’d better take the chance. Unfortunately, the onset of a particularly nasty bout of ‘flu rendered me somewhat less than enthusiastic for any kind of live music, so I’m afraid to say I didn’t get very much out of it. Neither did I stay until the end. Mad Professor was really good – don’t know anything of his, bar the Massive Attack album, but armed only with a pair of 1210s and a sampler he kicked out a very danceable dub set. Not that I was in the mood for dancing, mind.
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry was pretty good too – a funny little Rasta in colourful clothes, a silly shiny hat, and clearly very, very stoned. He is most definitely a reggae elder statesman, and it was almost surreal to see him in a place like Sammy’s.
I feel I have to mention the crowd. Reggae is massive in NZ, mon, and I have never seen a larger gathering of red, gold and green, not in Brixton, not anywhere. Dreads, shaggy beards, tea-cosys, cannabis leaves, Jah dis and Jah dat, the lot. And every last one of these dudes was pasty white! Literally, the only black guy in the room was on the stage! Too funny.