Words by Anna Tuck.

Easy Star All-Stars were a force of nature on their return to Band on The Wall. They drew a packed out crowd, even though it was a Tuesday night, and satisfied hungry appetites with tasty bites from the New York reggae scene.

After a lively warm-up from London reggae band Shanty, the All-Stars stormed the stage with their unique reggae covers. Immediately, the crowd sparked like kindling to their chilled out version of ‘Lovely Rita’, and to the cascading drums and lyrical guitar solo of ‘Beat It’.

It was a passionate, visual performance from the band, who were bopping away on stage, clearly loving it as much as the audience. Kirsty Rock on vocals was formidable. Looking like an Aztec goddess with gold body paint and huge golden earrings, she sang with her arms raised, as though she was channelling the notes. Shelton Garner on guitar delivered some amazing solos, and MC Ruff Scott kept the venue jumping, even when he was just scatting over the beat.

There were uplifting vocal harmonies, hypnotic bass lines, and tons of funk courtesy of the sax and trombone combos. Originals like ‘One Likkle Draw’ were well-received, but it was their better known Pink Floyd and Radiohead covers that drove the audience crazy.

Pink Floyd’s ‘Breathe’ and ‘Time’ were suitably powerful, as were the soulful twists on Radiohead’s ‘High and Dry’, and ‘Karma Police’. Given the profound nature of these songs, it’s clear to see why their essence still translates even in a totally different genre.

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The gig took place at Band on the Wall on Tuesday 5 July, 2016.

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