ANTHONY B REVIEW - 3.05.06
EVENT: Anthony B with Soul Majestic
VENUE: Carribean Cultural Center, 1000 Blue Hill Ave., Dorchester, MA
ADMISSION: $ 30 at the door
SHOW RATING: $ $ $ $ (three out of four)
Anthony B delivered in fine style last night, revealing his talent, versatility, and experience as a dancehall icon in the business. I rolled in CCCs at 11:25 and Boston's infamous Caribbean dancehall was pretty empty, much like my pocket after paying thirty dollars for the show. To my surprise, Jah N Roots Band I was jamming their Rasta music on stage, and they delivered conscious, non slack roots tunes in their militant style. Led by the passionate Jahrif, Jah N I unleashed one heavyweight roots tune called "Soul of the Lion" which really moved the sparse CCC massive. Gwan Jah N I!
A brand new sound in the scene called Evalast Movements (sarcasm) then juggled some conscious tunes like Warrior King, "Can't Get Me Down" and Jr. Gong's razor sharp number, "Confrontation." The Seasons and Istanbul riddims were also played to the delight of the crowd. Earthforce then took the reigns played some nice oldies and several dubplates, including a wicked Luciano special. Sweets sounds from both sets!
Before long however, the main stage was again packed with musicians and chapter 2 of the show was unfolding. The tough music of the rootsy band Soul Majestic was a great start. Soul Majestic, a conscious group like Jah N I, was well armed with two female singers and an experienced riddim section. Their lead voice was a white dreadlocks who could hold a beat. "Arise" was their first heavy tune and that number set the tone as SM roughed it up with scorchers like "Musical Farmer" on the I Swear riddim. After playing a track on Gibbo's Hard Times riddim, Soul Majestic finished with a tune for all badminded heads of state called, "Better World."
I was hoping that Soul Majestic would simply stay on and then out of no where Anthony B would dart on stage but...the night was still young. Both Earthforce and Evalast set up their CD turntables next to the sound board in the very back of the club, facing the stage. Earthforce then juggled for only 4-5 minutes before the vacated main stage suddenly became alive once again. On stage was a new band called Untouchables, but they were not really too new. It was a revised version of Soul Majestic but minus the white people! The lead singer was expectedly gone as he is Soul Majestic. The other white guitar player had also vanished but soon reappeared at the merchandise stand by the entrance to the club. The Untouchables kicked it off at 1:05 am and they were tight! The talented bass player was also the lead vocal but he only performed one song before a hoarse DJ Quinton took the stage to announce the real headliner. It was now clear that Untouchables, not Soul Majestic, would back the 30 year old Clarks Town native Keith Blair, AKA Anthony B.
At 1:10 am, Anthony B took the stage and immediately raised the energy level 100% with his charisma and antics. He came running out from stage right and started belting out, "Hurt the heart, but you can't hurt the soul" and as a result, the CCC massive was in a frenzy! That energy never left and Anthony B, a veteran performer, turned what was a good dance into a wicked night! The club had filled up significantly since Jah N I and at this point most of the crowd had moved upfront right next to the stage. Five boom shots from the elder Bobo dread included, "Ring the Alarm," "Burn Down Rome," "Good Life," "God Above Everything," and of course "Raid the Barn," which was his final tune. Anthony B harmonized passionately for the ladies, belted out classics with his signature "yauckity yo," and spit sharp lyrics in a super fast DJ style all night. Anthony B is a well rounded artist and whose skills made his performance the obvious standout.
Anthony B also displayed by personality and charactah last night as well. He's a real showman who enjoys giving the crowd some entertainment. For example, when mentioning all the screwfaces in the dirty dancehall during "Waan Back," Anthony B cut out the music, walked over to the bassie, and gave the crowd his hardest "yeah,-I'm-a-hard-muthafucka" screwface and everyone loved it! He was funny too! He explained that he doesn’t fight with other artists in the reggae business because he's busy "clashing" with women. Anthony B then sang an outrageous tune calling out the names of all many female artists in the business like Cecil, Makka Diamond, Ms. Ting, and Tanya Stephens for example. Of course, the man had special lyrics for each of them and he dropped the bomb when he remarked, "Marcia Griffiths (pause), she a bit old, but [something like] she shines with gold, and also glittah (glitter), I'd like to put one in Rita!" Oh snap! The "Original Fire Man" also addressed many more serious issues such as gun violence, homosexuality, and police brutality, especially due to a spliff. In fact, Anthony B's notorious "Good Cop, Bad Cop" could have been the biggest tune of the night (not forgetting wicked tracks like, "Badman," "Lighter," and the popular "Warrior," on the cuss cuss riddim).
The lights came on just shy of 2 am and Anthony B left the stage, greeting several fans on his way to the upstairs, backstage area. CCC, a sizeable hall, was just shy of half full and that in itself isn't a bad turn out for a show held on a Sunday night and announced only a couple of week's ago. It's been a special week for live reggae in Boston considering last week's excellent Gregory Isaacs performance and the killer works of Anthony B last night.