Hereford is slowly evolving into a Punk and Reggae music hub with nights happening in various locations all around the city. Some UK cities are known for their Indie, psych, blues, dance music, and a multitude of other music movements: however, Herefordshire holds a reputation for great border folk bands, a long-standing metal scene, alternative rock, reggae and the current regeneration of punk with the appearance of bands like the Subhumans, and the recent annual punk festival A Crisis of Conscience held at the Booth Hall in aid of homeless charities. We sent Gavin Brown to review the night.
The Booth Hall was filled with reggae grooves, as well as some punchy ska and punk on Friday, June 2nd, when the well-respected Fowokan took to the stage alongside Alvin And The Angry Barrels, plus, there was DJ BDS SilvaShiva manning the decks and creating a heady atmosphere with deep reggae and dub cuts between the two acts on a night with some brilliant vibes throughout.
Ska and reggae have always been intertwined with one another of course, but so has punk, so Alvin And The Angry Barrels with their focussed mixture of ska and punk were the perfect openers for the night’s proceedings. Their quickfire songs were energetic and enjoyable, and had the right amount of fiery chat and humour (including a great song about a geography teacher at the end of their set). They got the night started off with a vigorous burst.
With DJ BDS pumping out some big rhythms after the openers had finished, once again demonstrating how well he knows how to both rock an audience and set the right vibes, Fowokan readied their extensive set up – the eight piece were jam packed onto the Booth stage – and even though it was a bit of a tight fit, they all managed to get on there and once they were, the sweet reggae flowed through the speakers with ease.
With lead vocalist and well-respected reggae singer Jimmy Lindsay (who has been an integral part of the British reggae scene for a long time) at the forefront singing his heart out, Fowokan laid down some soothing rhythms and each of the right band members on stage put their all into the performance.
With drummer Sam Kelly providing the musical backbone with his precise rhythms aided by a bassist, percussionist, guitarist, keyboardist and extra singers all on stage, the result was a sweet cacophony of reggae harmonies that eased the audience’s hearts and souls with their uplifting nature.
It was easy to get swept away with their distinctive sound, which is exactly what happened tonight with the band’s own compositions and their reworking of tracks like ‘Easy’ by The Commodores going down a storm.
With the combination of the band’s tight playing, honed by years of experience that really shone through, and their well-constructed and passionate brand of reggae, the music of Fowokan definitely put a smile on the face of the audience at the Booth for yet another memorable and eclectic gig there.
Music Review by Gavin Brown
All Photography Booth Hall Photography