What’s going on (in Lewisham)?

It’s not every week you witness a reggae legend playing in a local pub but the Thursday just gone we saw Big Youth at the Fox and Firkin in Lewisham. And what a night! Just after 10pm a trim looking Jah Youth bounded onstage (as his band Dub Natty Sessions from Venezuela were playing the “Satta Massanga” rhythm) and was treated to a heroes welcome from the crowd of 150 or so.

For about an hour he performed a shedload of his classics mostly delivered in an improvised style (songs would morph into something else midway then return to the original later) with Big Youth ad-libbing throughout the set, telling the band to “take it down low” many times as he’d change song lyrics and connect with his audience big time. We later learnt that the band had only rehearsed once with the legend earlier that day, so there must have been some sort of reggae telepathy going on between all as it was bang on musically!

We were treated to some excellent versions of Hit the road Jack, Touch me in the morning and What’s going on? amongst many more whilst Big Youth jumped about with boundless energy, took his hat off and shook his locks a couple of times (to massive cheers and whoops!) and chatted to the audience throughout. At one point while he was halfway through a version of Natty dread no jester he handed the mike to someone in the crowd who started doing an impromptu toast over the end of the song which won the chap a round of applause from the audience and the great man himself. A night to remember and one that brought out the autographed hunter in us (pic above)! Big up Big Youth!

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