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This is about Protoje's sold out debut show in London

So, Friday night was all about Protoje's first show in England. And where better for it to be held than Brixton? Nowhere! That's where. The night was hosted by Sir David "Ram Jam" Rodigan. Who better to give you the blessing for your first show in England, in Brixton? You guessed it, me! That's who. Nah, I'm joking. No one - duh.


I arrived in the ram pack place as Toddla T and Serocee were on deck. I was watching my don Orvill McKenzie fight on t'telly so missed Kiko Bun (was looking forward to seeing him as well). Toddla and Sero were running some electro takes of dancehall music. Fully representing what they're about. I mean, they played a special of Sizzla "Just One Of Those Days". That's cold!

So next up was Rodigan, looking like a bus conducted with a pouch full of 45's. Not a gun - vinyl. He asked the crowd who remembers bus conductors. Judging by the noise and the average age in there, its safe to say the liars were out in full force. Or maybe they were so tanked up on liquor and ready for a good night, they thought it'd be good to interact. He shouted out Maverick Sabre, fellow Rebel Sound members Chase & Status and Dizzee Rascal in the place.

First half of Rodi's set was educational. Some Barrington Levy, Yabby You, Dennis Brown et cet. Second half was love to the newer music, so drawing for big ones like Damian Marley "Welcome To Jamrock", Cham "Ghetto Story" (the special version about Rodigan clashing Barry G), Beenie Man "Who Am I?" (a song he's credited for breaking in England) before Chronixx "Here Comes Trouble" and Tarrus Riley "Gimme Likkle One Drop" which both drew bigger responses than I'd anticipated.

I feel like now's a good time to tell you about the crowd. I'd say it was mainly about 18-27 year-old white people. This was a big confirmation for me as I'd always thought it would be in my head for the longest. Not comparing to show who's better or whatever, but in comparison, Chronixx's Ram Jam crowd was mainly black from young to old with non-black's making up about 25% max. First Chronixx show was definitely 97% black.




But moving onto the reason most of us were there, Protoje. Now readers of this blog will know I went to see Protoje for the first time in France last year. This was my first time seeing him with English-speaking people, therefore a different experience. Also, the new album was finally released so the set list reflected that.

Kicked off with "I & I" as he did in France. Third song was "Sudden Flight" off the new album so I knew I was in for a different set quite early on. Not gonna mention every song cah mi nuh waan bait up di man ting, uthimi? "Who Dem A Program" drew a big response and 'Oje dropped some unreleased lyrics about his fellow reggae revival acts. Sick lyrics.

Sarah Lugo guested for a performance of "Really Like You" following "Rasta Love". The crowd sang the chorus word for word on the latter. One thing I noticed about this show compared with the France one is he didn't spend as much time getting the crowd to sing along on many occasions 'cos the people understood English, innit. Crowd showed their appreciation in a similar way - loud cheers and applause at the end of each song.




In line with Ancient Future, there was emphasis on patching new with the old, por ejemplo Black Uhuru "I Love King Selassie" on "Hail Rastafari" (I think), Anthony Johnson "Gushot" at the tail end of "Sudden Flight" and John Holt "Police In Helicopter" on "Protection". The latter two used as samples for latest album tracks.



Last two tracks performed were monster hits "Who Knows" and "Kingston Be Wise". Only thing I'd say is they should've been part of an encore. Solid debut show. Congo Natty followed with some reggae hits and jungle vibes, then Jack Swift and Mighty Moe with garage flavours.



Solid debut performance. Really professional, well delivered and matching of his stature. I look forward to his return.

Roll on Anthony B, Jah 9, Yami Bolo and Addis Pablo on Easter Monday 6th April [tix here]
Marcia Griffiths + Friends (Bob Andy, Judy Mowatt, Tanya Stephens and Richie Spice) at Shepherds Bush Empire, 17th May [tix here]
More Life featuring I-Octane, Macka Diamond and Stone Love from Jamaica alongside Ms. Dynamite from UK and Mighty Crown from Japan at Brixton Academy on 24th May [tix here],
Chronixx at the historic Somerset House as part of Summer Series on 12th July [tix here]
Jimmy Cliff at indigo at the o2 on 7th August [tix here]

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