Hubs presents Summer Reggae Party at Open, with By the Rivers, Babilondon, and The Piratones, live at the Open club room, Norwich, 14 June 2013 review.
Ash Woolnough and the Hubs team’s latest offering to the Norwich reggae supporters was this appealing gig at Open. The bands By the Rivers and Babilondon I knew next to nothing about, so a few days beforehand I listened to them both on Spotify and their Bandcamp pages. I was extemely impressed. By the Rivers’ self-titled album presents great tunes, a fine lead vocal and some accessible catchy reggae, which is incredibly well produced. Babilondon are equally impressive and their EP has a rootsier, more dubby edge and both bands put on a great show.
First on stage tonight however were Norwich favourites The Piratones. With a strong and enthusiastic, growing local audience they had a good rapport with the crowd, which is well deserved however as their songs and delivery stand up very well. The vocals of Dan and Georgia blend so well, at times sounding like an imagined jam between Amy Winehouse and Tricky! This is a fast improving band, growing in confidence and delivery, and with very catchy songs, some of which were new and aired for the first time tonight. They ended their set with one of my favourites – Forest of Sin – which neither the band nor the skanking audience seemed to want to end, and so we were treated to an extra ska refrain at the end.
Babilondon set up next, bringing on their poster backdrop and deep roots grooves. Another fine and confident band, making their first visit to Norwich from London. The singer Zach, in Screamadelica t-shirt and Marley guitar-strap, has a good and strong rasta voice and quickly formed a nice rapport with the crowd, Chanty Town on co-vocals has a sweet voice and is a good visual focus, dancing and moving throughout, with a smile to light up the room. I can see this band returning to Norwich in a headline slot before too long. Their EP is to be recommended. http://babilondon.bandcamp.com/album/babilondon-ep
As is the nature of reggae gigs, we were running a little bit behind schedule but nobody cared and it meant any late comers had not missed the bands, so the place had a good attendance by the time Leicester band By the Rivers came on. The lead singer, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Norwich legend Darren Huckerby, treated us to some beautiful, laid back reggae and most of the audience were dancing away with smiling faces everywhere. Pop reggae at its finest, songs like “Vulture” are real earworms, as some good friends of mine term such tracks. Once again the sound in the club room at Open was absolutely spot-on, and once again so was the atmosphere. Super little venue and another marvellous gig.
Throughout the gig there were a trio of girls dancing beautifully to the music with hula hoops, absolutely mesmerising but very hard to photograph in the darkness next to the stage.
words and photos by richard shashamane
with thanks to Rick at Open for kind permission.