Pama International Review
I missed the start of the Goldmaster Allstars set which was a shame as it included the vocal offerings of their new protégé 'Charlie P'. Young Charles is the son of one of the members of Southend's pioneering sound system "Simba." Goldmaster were in full swing when I entered 93 feet east the small-ish stage just about accommodating the 12 man ensemble. The nicely balanced horn section was a treat to hear. Despite comprising only four of the original line up since my association with the band changed it was good to hear that the older songs still had the original Goldmaster flavour. Then reggae veteran GT Moore stepped up and the vibe immediately became more serious, two of the tunes 'africa' and an enchanting adaptation of the congoes 'fisherman' were notable for their brilliance and young Charlie P joined in on backing vocals.
Between Goldmaster and the Headline act 'Pama International', Trojan Sound System had a go at entertaining the sparse crowd. I would have expected a better attendance considering that quite a big push was given to make people aware of this gig. Personally I thought the DJ'ing was embarrassing (and there was no sound system in the real sense of the term) the DJ marginally improved when two sing jays and an MC mounted the stage with riders in hand to entertain the people. I didn't catch the names of the trio on stage but they were competent at their craft.
Pama International are described as 'dub fuelled, ska, rock steady and reggae.' The dub influence is there to experience and the six piece band wasted no time in firing straight into their energetic and big sounding musical menu. My ears kept getting seventies funky flavours and smatterings of late sixties psychedelia mixed heavily amongst the ska, rock steady and reggae beats. The charismatic vocalist holds your attention as he effortlessly flows through his set list. They were joined on stage in the later stages of their set by TJ CHILL of Afrika Bambaatas Zulu Nation fame. Catch them if/when you can - you won't be disappointed.
NB. Venue management - The lighting at the back corners of the stage would be much better if not directed into the eyes of the audience for sooooooo long!