“Ah feel facken orful tonight! A lesser person would have cancelled but I’m obviously of sterner stuff” So spake a flu ridden John Wardle as he eventually took the stage. With the pallor of a Poundstretchers candle and dressed like a slightly psychedelic Arthur Daley, Wobble then led the band through a very similar set to that witnessed at last year’s ABC2 gig. The bass is omnipresent; you feel it in your gut, the backs of your trouser legs resonate in sympathy,when you open your mouth your gullet tickles at that particular frequency. It’s awesome, the only time I’ve experienced anything like this before was Robbie Shakespeare.
How often do you go along to a gig saying to yourself “I do hope they play Cherry Blossom of My Youth and they never do? Happens to me far too often for my liking, but not tonight. The Nippon Dub Ensemble do their thing which is, as ever, sublime. Tonight they were;
Jah Wobble – bass, vocal
Claire Rose – vocals
Clive Bell – flutes, harmonica, melodica Keiko Kitamura – koto, vocal
Emi Watanabe – flute, vocal
Kumiko Suzuki – taiko, percussion, vocal
Chris Cookson – guitar
Marc Layton-Bennet – drums
Neville Murray – percussion
Sean Corby – trumpet, French horn
George King – Keyboard
After forty minutes or so the band slide into more of a Lovers Rock thing Althea & Donna, Augustus Pablo. Rimshots and echo galore “It’s dub, Jim, but not as we know it!”. Wobble announces the girls are going off for a rest and brings on two new players on keys and cornet. Suddenly they take a sharp left turn and with the aid of a Harmon Mute we’re off into Miles Electric Period (MEP!). I’m conscious of grinning like a Cheshire cat, as you don’t hear enough stuff like this these days. Dark Magus indeed! At the same time I’m very aware that it’s very much of it’s moment and a boot wouldn’t do it justice (p.s. I’ve since bought the album ’7’ and am correct, you had to be there!). Gig of the year so far, however!