The sounds of summer were being brought to the Garage in London on a damp and miserable Tuesday night. The lords of dirty reggae The Aggrolites were playing tonight and they had Intensified and my favourites the New Town Kings In tow.
I had never heard of Intensified before they were added to the bill at the last minute. I was pleasantly surprised by their traditional ska sound. They played incredibly tightly as a band (unsurprising given that have been together for twenty years) and really seemed to love what they were doing. I can’t say enough that how important it is for a crowd to see the band enjoying themselves, it forces them to enjoy it more as well even if you’re not aware of who the band are. Intensified were a really strong opening act.
Up next were Colchester’s finest the New Town Kings. This would be my fourth time seeing them this year and eighth time overall (tying them with Less Than Jake and The Skints as the band I’ve seen the most times) and I was as excited as ever. Despite having seen them so much lately the band surprised me with their opening song. They played the unreleased Francine in a very brave move. Unless you have caught the band live (and if you haven’t you definitely should) you won’t have heard the song and might be a little hesitant to have a dance. The crowd were a little slow to get moving but this just encouraged the Kings to put even more energy into their performance. Front man Dabs is a man full of energy and worked extremely hard to get the crowd moving and soon enough they did. I strongly believe it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself during a New Town Kings set and this performance was as good as any other time I’ve seen them. Songs of the new EP Pull Up & Rewind, Luna Rosa and Grabbed My Hand sounded fantastic as did staple of their set Dynamite, New Town Hop and of course Fire In The Hole. The New Town Kings continue to prove why they are the best ska band in the country.
The Aggrolites are a five piece reggae band from Los Angeles. It was interesting to see the sheer array of different people from different age groups and subcultures who turned up to see The Aggrolites such is the popularity of the band. Jesse Wagner and his crew were unbelievably tight musically. I don’t think I’ve seen many bands play as well together as The Aggrolites do. They were always in sync and never missed a beat. Playing a collection of songs across their entire discography they had the entire garage crowd moving. I was especially impressed by organ player Roger Rivas, his skills at the keys really gave a lot of life to The Aggrolites music. They played a cover of an old Jamaican rocksteady song which also went down a storm. They left one big surprise for the encore though. After playing a cover of UB40’s Red Red Wine they were joined by a very (pardon the pun) special guest. None other than Lynval Golding from legendary ska band The Specials. They covered another old Jamaicam rocksteady track before an amazing cover of The Beatles Don’t Let Me Down. The Aggrolites really showed why they are so respected in the reggae world and Linval himself joked he was officially leaving The Specials to join The Aggrolites.
A really joyous night of reggae and ska from both sides of the Atlantic.
Check out Intensified here: https://www.facebook.com/IntensifiedUK
Check out New Town Kings here: https://www.facebook.com/newtownkings
Check out The Aggrolites here: https://www.facebook.com/theaggrolites
Now listening to My Favourite Song by Dan Potthast