Saturday 29 September @ Soul Vybez 2, Paris

A lesson to be learned and relearned is GET PRESALES. Such is the popularity of this group and indeed all reggae in France and Europe that ‘doorsales’ are a laborious and uncomfortable process.

Playing in a park a way out from the city centre, after a long wait and hustle in a throng of eager fans, I finally got in. Then noticed that the dancefloor had ample space left. What’s more, it was about 2am and there were still preamble hypes and DJ sets going on. The mood was sufficiently bashment, with the likes of Who Dem, Bun Dung Dreadie and plenty of Bounty cuts warming up the crowd.

Finally a singer called “Irie Vibes” appeared, a smooth female crooner form Hawaii. Alongside a French selector, she brought the mood into more of a cruisey groove for her short set.

The next to raise the level was Lasa, who played LMS favourites like Never on the Liberation Rhythm, as well as many rougher tunes including a new one which he said was No. 1 in Italy.

At about 3:15am Morgan Heritage finally entered to a screaming crowd.  With their own selector, they launched into Inna Dem Ting Deh and the crowd’s reaction was ecstatic. They moved quickly through sings such as Uncomfortable, Don’t Haffi Dread, Live Up, and Man Still A Man to rapturous applause. Jah Works kept the flow slow and irie as they moved to a favourite on the Crybaby riddim which played long and righteous. There was even time for a few pull-ups.

There was much testing of crowd response to new material like Mission In Progress, and a tiny sliver of Brooklyn and Jamaica before a verbal and musical acknowledgement to the people from the islands of Jamaica and surrounding. Later Lasa came out to sing again for a few tunes, before ending with the universally acclaimed How Come and Liberation and even a verse of Capleton’s Jah Jah City. By this time the crowd was pure putty and was singing more of the chants and verses than they were. What was surprising was that people all knew the words, even though they were mostly native French speakers.

The most apparent downside was that Morgan Heritage only represented 40 minutes of the night’s music after coming on so late. That and the spacious dancefloor despite the bouncers insisting it was overpacked.

Although I prefer a set structured more like they are in Wellington, New Zealand (earlier and more of the artist), it was balanced by seeing such wonderful performers and true artists.

Respect to the Paris crowd and to the Heritage for providing a stunning evening of the most quality tunes in the scene.

Spin Zero