It's been over ten years since dancehall's original Grammy Kid, Shabba Ranks, performed in Europe and from all accounts, his following there has not diminished significantly.
Staying true to the genre, Shabba called for none other than the experienced band Ruff Kut - Beenie Man's band - to accompany him on tour, and quite sensibly, Ruff Kut packed their bags and caught a flight. That's probably not the prescription the Doctor, Beenie Man, would have ordered, but this has been a rough season for bands; they have been feeling the pinch of the recession as artistes have increasingly been forced to accept gigs that stipulate them working with tracks.
On Friday, Shabba played at the O2 Academy Brixton, to a sold-out venue, but even before that, the legendary status of the Ranks became apparent.
"People were lined up outside the rehearsal venue on Thursday evening waiting to get a glimpse of Shabba," a member of his touring party reported. "And at the concert itself, it was just 'maaad'. From Telephone Love with JC Lodge, who accompanied him on stage, to Housecall with with Maxi Priest, it was nothing short of electrifying."Newsy Chick Review of Shabba Ranks @ Brixton Academy:
It was the moment we'd been waiting for. The legend Shabba Ranks was performing in the UK for the first time in over 13 years and obviously there was no way in hell I was gonna miss it. I swear I had been looking forward to last night's show, like a child waits for Christmas, and after hearing the legend himself on Robbo Ranx's show on Thursday night, the anticipation levels were high (I even broke out the sexy red shoes). Fortunately I wasn't disappointed.
After parking like a mile away from Brixton Academy, my bessie mate and I bopped down towards Brixton Academy and I had flashbacks to my recent JA holiday straight away. From the guys trying to chirpse us on road, to arriving and seeing the Jerk Man smoking out the place with his food in the Jerk Pan. I swear I LOVE times like this.
Anyway, after the initial disappointment at the news that Chaka Demus and Pliers weren't gonna be appearing due to 'illness', I didn't really care about the warm up acts. Eventually it was time for the big man himself.
Woyoiiii! Dressed from head to toe in black (All black eveything - hold tight Jay-Z), Shabba Ranks stepped on stage and the crowd went mad.
"Winey Winey..." PULL UUUPPPPP!!! "I am bad, bad and wicked inna bed...." Aaaaahhhhh PULLL UPPPP "Love Punanny bad..." WHEEEELLLLL! and so on... pure hype up in the place.
Shabba put down one piece of energy and wining like some young artist. The man clearly came to prove that even after all these years, he's still got it. Artists like Bounty Killer could still learn a lot from Shabba about how to entertain on a stage show.
So, soon it was time for the 'special guests', first up Mykal 'Grammy' Rose.
"Shine eye gal is a trouble to a man..." Crowd is making pure noise and the couple of short guys near us get all hype and try to run and queeze forward near the stage. The band go straight into the Shoot Out Riddim and Mykal drops his big tune "Police and thieves in a shoot out..." Bare gunfingers in the air. Brixton Academy is on fire right now. Strange thing happens next tho. Shabba says Mykal Rose is gonna do a new tune next and the band starts up with a new riddim but it come-in like Mykal forgot the words. Just nothing...air pie...riddims rolling and man's just standing there with the mic in his hands but not saying a damn ting! Fortunately, this doesn't last too long (but long enough for it to be blatantly noticeable) and he gets on with things.
On to the next special guest, JC Lodge, who joins Shabba for Telephone Love, then some next woman (dunno her name) Selena Serrano (thanks Robbo) steps on stage for Mr Loverman and Twice My Age. Poor ting couldn't really handle the wining and daggering Shabba was trying to put on her lol, but the tunes still sounded big. It was like a flashback to my childhood when I wasn't allowed out but knew the tunes and had to buss the dances in under 18's raves.
Next up...Maxi Priest for House Call. Still sounding exactly like he does on record, Maxi represented hard. "Maxi Priest and Shabba!" Dun the place. Robbo Ranx tweeted: "Fi real.. A girl fainted bofffff when Maxi and Shabba did House Call..!! Wow!!!"
Then all sorts of random women piled on to the stage for "Trailer Load of girls". Hit after hit after hit...Shabba wrapped the show up later with Ting A Ling. Original Bogle time. By the time we were leaving, the sexy time red shoes were bunning my feet on some whole new level but it didn't matter. Great show from the big dutty stinkin' Shabba Ranks.
SOURCE: Newsy Chick, Jamaicaobserver
MORE ON THIS ARTICLE BELOW