, Jordan Street
22nd May 2010
Unusually for the start of a gig, there’s people who are actually
enjoying standing outside the venue in the smoking area. On the approach
to the venue the bass sound booming from the PA out across Toxteth announces
what is in store. The long twilight and the humid temperature have undoubtedly
added to the atmosphere at tonight’s show, meaning this small corner
of L3 now almost feels like the latter stages of the Notting Hill Carnival.
The Picket’s high-ceiling provides welcome relief from the heat,
as we await The Wailing Souls, genuine originators of reggae and dub.
Almost at full capacity, the night begins with a sound system followed
by a live set.
The band take to the stage around ten pm with minimal fuss and glide
into their first track. As a foretaste of the Africa Oye weekend in Sefton
Park towards the end of June, the band are perfect, as being among the
originators of dub, roots and reggae, they are likely to have inspired
many of the acts who are appearing there.
The pedigree of having written cornerstone roots tracks such as ‘War’
and ‘Bredda Gravalicious’ is apparent by the reception the
band receive. Their sound undiminished by age, their recording career
began back in the 1960s, the tight and fluid interplay between Winston
Mathews' and Lloyd McDonald's vocals is much in evidence.
Having toured almost continually has increased the musician’s empathy
with each other, especially considering they’ve been playing together
for almost half a century. The cavernous bass sound almost threatens to
overwhelm proceedings at points but is kept in check by the nimble drumbeats.
Achieving the feat of sounding expansive, being minimal yet massive is
a hard trick to pull off yet the Wailing Souls succeed easily. Drawing
to a close after just over an hour and a half, the deep bass sound that
is clearly in evidence on almost every Clash record, all the way up to
contemporary acts such as Gorillaz, had some of its earliest outings minted
by this group.