Friday 10 November @ Subnine, Wellington.

‘Cant Stop Jah Music’.

Respect to House Of Shem, the 7-piece reggae group who visited Wellington Friday 10 November.  It was the first time the Wanganui based band had played a solo show in the capital, and as with a lot of things done for the first time, they faced a couple of challenges.  A reggae band without a sound person is indeed an issue, especially when it happens only a few hours before the doors are to open!

In an understandingly alarming and no doubt stressful situation, it was the calm spoken words of the band founder, Carl Perkins (the senior and most experienced musician in House Of Shem) that truly summed up the night that was still yet to somehow come together.

‘Cant stop Jah music’ may as well have been said by the Mighty Asterix and selector Topknot too as they blazed through some seriously heavyweight roots dancehall to start off the night and welcome in the crowd.  Respect must go to Subnines sound system, though older and not as crispy sparkly as some of the newer rigs with all their digi sound processing and such, this rig seemed to be a bit more honest at dealing with the Jamaican reggae productions that were bubbling through it.

Asterixs voice sounded as good as ever, and Topknot dropped riddim after riddim of nothing but the big, bad, and heavy. As the venue steadily filled up we were treated to guest vocalists Jhan and also Asterixs son who tore through a tough version of Capletons That Day Will Come.

It was about 11.30pm when House Of Shem took to the stage. Carl Perkins lead the band through original material and also some tunes from Herbs and Mana (material written by him about 20 years ago – yep, a true reggae legend of Aotearoa) before swapping places with bassist Teo who lead the band through some of the newer HOS material. Isaiah, on keys, also led a smooth tune highlighting the amount of talent within the family band. All songs were complimented by the first rate musicianship of the rhythm section, sax player, percussionist, and guest lead guitarist.

The most well known songs Dreams and Keep Rising were saved till the end of the set and the encore was well received as the band broke from the watertight reggae arrangements and jammed it out to finish off their performance.

Topknot was quick on the up-fade to bring back more of the sound system vibe that kept the dancers on the floor after the band.  Overall it was a great night. Big ups House Of Shem. Quickly becoming my fav NZ reggae band.

Cant stop live Aotearoa roots music!

Art Official