I get in at 8pm sharp. The lights are low, and about 25 people in there, between the bar and the stage. And with warm up music on the play on the speakers it leaves space for strictly good vibes in the air. Walking into the Jazz Café, Camden, there is a brother to the right of the doors with a table selling yellowman tshirts, some with Zunggu-zunggu-guzung-guzeng and some just in a flash style font saying ‘King Yellowman!’
I get a bottle of water and find me a good spot. With a few more people coming in, it’s a big mixed crowd, a lot of young folks out on a Friday night and some older folks, who perhaps grew up on Dancehall and Yellowman…the Jamaican dance hall massive!
830-something and the jazz café is now getting full, its weed and warm up in the air when rising dancehall artist Peppery starts the support warm up. He gets the crowd in the mood! Pure Dancehall with tracks of his like, Facts of life, Social Media and How di place a run. Clayton Brown, more popularly known as Peppery, is arguably, currently one of the most underrated artists in the Reggae Dancehall industry. Originally from Trelawny, Jamaica, he is now based in Manchester, UK.
9pm The Sagittarius Band have come out and taken their seats behind their respective instruments for the night. They continue the vibes from where peppery left off with the riddim to Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt (Diseases riddim by Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes), and everyone eagerly awaiting to see King Yellowman.
Alright! Verbally nimble with a loose, easy flow King Yellowman bounces out onto the stage with this daughter, Kareema Foster” K’reema”. Bearing in mind dancehall super star born January 1956 standing tall and sprightly at 63 years old, the exact same age as my father, is jumping from one side of the stage to the other shaking hands with a few crowd members and sharing his excitement and love for the people.
Winston Foster, Jamaica’s first dancehall superstar, AKA Yellowman gained wide popularity in the dancehall reggae scene in the 1980s. And without wasting time, the bass gets deeper and the father daughter duo are already singing line for line Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt, and the crowd is loving it.
King Yellowman’s successful singles “I’m Getting Married in the Morning,” “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” and “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” which brought him worldwide acclaim were played one after the other. Dem mad over me as well as tracks from the 1984 album titled King Yellowman, Jamaica Nice, Mi Believe, Wha Dat and Still Be A Lady took us past 10pm.
There was me standing somewhere at the back skanking and trying not to bump into others around me, listening to one of my King Yellowman favorites, Lost Mi Love, and on the other side of the spectrum was Yellowman himself, by far the fittest man in the room, jumping, stretching, doing push ups on stage, 63 or 33! Age is clearly just a number.
There was a continual love and appreciation from Yellowman verbally said to the crowd every so often ” I love you, I love you!” That mixed in with a good crowd and the great live music made the evening a great one!
K’reema played a big part in the evening. She shined bright and when the audience heard her voice over acoustics and the riddims, it blew us all away. Turning to music in 2013–14 with her first song, We Don’t Give a What, described as “roots-reggae, dancehall and pop”. She has her fathers full support and certainly the talent, bouncing of Yellowman’s energy and him wanting her to play a more active part in the London nights performance.
Jazz café Camden was fully packed out, with people having a hard time squeezing through one another to get another drink or go outside. The energy from the night’s music and Yellowman definitely left everyone on a good vibe. The crowd were thrown-back to the 80s’s, with a sense of nostalgia, it was a remarkable show from a Dancehall legend, who proved that even after many years, despite the suffering he has faced health wise he is still undeniably one of the best showmen in the scene.
Jymit S Khondhu
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- REVIEW |KING YELLOWMAN & THE SAGITTARIUS BAND LIVE AT THE JAZZ CAFE, LONDON — September 3, 2019