Tie-dyed tees and dreadlocks were out in force last night at the Gov for Jamaican ska and reggae band the Skatalites.
There was little preamble on stage. “Music is my occupation,” said sax player Lester Sterling in greeting, and not without a hint of pride. I can believe it. Every song they played, whether a Skatalites original or cover, was irresistible and dripping with talent. I could try my entire life but never be as talented or effortlessly cool as the brass section. My favourite tunes included the James Bond theme song and “Take Five” (or, as Sterling called it, “The Russians are Coming”).
It was a bizarrely mixed crowd. Baby boomers dusted off some expert 1960s dance moves while trademark Adelaide hipsters with wrinkled shirts and ironic tattoos swayed alongside them, perhaps with a little less zeal. Rather, they concentrated on sneaking Snapchats. I spied a father and son enjoying the concert together. This band crosses the generational divide. No one could resist moving to the beat and square footage was a valuable commodity on the dance floor.
The Skatalites are perhaps best described as a collective. They let no instrument or musician go uncelebrated, with each member performing at least one solo to showcase their talent. I don’t know who enjoyed these more, the audience or the band mates, who would discretely step back to listen and nod along with the rhythm. Highlights included Sterling’s velvety sax and an impromptu dance routine by keyboard player Ken Stewart.
The crowd’s excitement reached new heights when veteran singer Doreen Shaffer joined the band, opening with her unique rendition of “My Boy Lollipop”. Her high pitched, rich and sultry voice complemented the dance friendly tune.
Support band Fistfull of Trojans played loudly and with enthusiasm, entertaining the relaxed early-comers with ease.
Review by Nicola Woolford.