Monday, February 28, 2011

Duff Gig Review: Dirty Reggae Party 8 with Jah Love and the Valentinians, The Hard Times, Kofre, and The Rudie Crew!

(Review by Steve Shafer)

If you weren't there, well, you should have been. It was another brilliant Dirty Reggae Party--this time, number 8 on 2/25/11 with Jah Love and the Valentinians (comprised of members of The Forthrights, The Hard Times, and The Slackers), The Hard Times (featuring DJ 100 DBs dropping in cool, dubby sound effects live), Kofre, and The Rudie Crew. In addition, DJs Crazy Baldhead, Grace of Spades, 100 DBs, and Jah Point pumped out some killer reggae on the sound system in between sets (Jah Point also toasted as he manned the turntables!).

Once again, a bunch of us Manhattanites--Marc Wasserman (Bigger Thomas/Marco on the Bass), Megg Howe (Across the Aisle), my good friend Joe and I--banded together for a journey from our home island out to the undiscovered country of Bushwick via the L train (and our crew was reinforced by more bandmates: Steve Meicke from BT and Ashray Shah from ATA met us there later). If you've never been, The Lake is a second floor loft space a few blocks from the subway, amidst several lonely (at least at night) blocks of warehouses and industrial shops--if you didn't know which metal door to open and stairs to climb, you'd probably never find this place (or suspect what the hell was going on inside!).

Since this was only Jah Love and the Valentinians' second or third gig, none of us had seen them and really didn't know what to expect, but from the caliber of the musicians involved, one would expect them to be pretty damn good...and they were. While the advance word was that they'd mostly play Lovers Rock--and they did--their set list also included really sweet covers of some choice skinhead reggae and ska tunes (all favorites of mine): Lloyd Charmers' "Birth Control," Laurel Aitken's "Sally Brown," Carlton and the Shoes' "Love Me Forever," and John Holt's "Strange Things" (see all the videos I shot below...). As you can see/hear, they did good.

Before their set, I spoke to both Bob Timm and Jacob Wake Up! about what The Hard Times might have in store (the last time I saw them, Coolie Ranx hit the stage to toast), but they were both pretty tight-lipped about it all and would only divulge that we were in for a several surprises that they didn't want to ruin for us. So, with our curiosity piqued, we were psyched that The Hard Times delivered on their promise to thrill us. In addition to the band performing their killer original dirty reggae tunes, their guest singer (who wants to remain nameless) returned to sing (she has an amazing husky alto voice) stellar renditions of Clancy Eccles' "Fattie Fattie," Jacob Miller's "Tenement Yard," Bill Withers' "Use Me" (which is familiar to a lot of people via Fiona Apple's cover), and the classic mash up of Prince Buster's "Whine and Grine" with The Beat's "Stand Down Margaret"--and Roy Radics of The Rudie Crew put his fantastic lyrical stamp on The Hard Times' "Two Bucks for Bob" rhythm; word has it that they've recorded this version and Agent Jay/Crazy Baldhead is in the midst of mixing it (the videos I took of all these cuts are posted below).

Since it was around 12:30 when The Hard Times finished, Marc, Joe and I (all dads with things going on with our families the next day) had to do the responsible thing and cut out to head back to Manhattan (though we all felt pretty guilty about not being able to stay for The Rudie Crew, who weren't going on until 1:30 or 2:00 am). However, the MTA had other plans for us: when we reached the Montrose L station, service was suspended in both directions due to track maintenance (though the service disruption sign we read earlier that night didn't alert us to the fact that it was going to be out that night--urgh!). Supposedly, there was a shuttle bus (we didn't see one) to whisk us to the parts of the L that were still working (and none of us really even knew which way to walk to find the next open subway stop--shades of freakin' "After Hours"!), but we were pretty lucky to spot and hail a cab that delivered us all home. From the taxi, I texted Megg to let her and Shray know what awaited them; she responded at 1:45 am that 1) Kofre's set was great, and 2) they were also able to grab a cab back to the big city. No one got left behind...

The next Dirty Reggae Party is on March 19...details TBA!

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As a means to make amends for splitting before the night was over (major apologies to you Roy!), here's a video I shot of The Rudie Crew in action at The Knitting Factory back in June:


Kames Jelly said...

This actually wasn't Jah Love and the Valentinians debut. They've played before. I think it was right around Valentine's day last year or the year before.

Steve from Moon said...

D'oh! I'll fix the posting. Thanks KJ for keeping me to the facts!

srudd said...

Steve! Keep me in the loop for the 19th. I'll be in town that weekend although I'm already double booked for that evening. There might be some down time in between engagements (the latter being off the L making the plan less ridiculous than it sounds).

Steve from Moon said...

Sarah! I'll make sure to let you know about the next ska show at The Lake! (Get in touch with me if I don't!) You will dig this venue and the bands have been excellent.

See you soon!