Words & Photos: Kieran Webber
Editorial Note: This article is referring to the 29th March show at The Watering Hole, due to technical difficulties we were not able to hit our deadline. Apologies to the bands, readers and PR that set this up.
To call Lee Scratch Perry an icon would be an understatement, the reggae/dub artist has been actively making music and touring the world for the better part of 30 years. Throughout his life he has been a big part of reggae music and still continues to inspire artists and fans to this day.
He became notorious in the seventies at his famous Black Ark Studios which saw him tutor the likes of Bob Marley. He would end up burning this studio to the ground after a supposed disagreement with Bob.
After this he became known for being the pioneer of a new genre dub music, a subcategory of reggae that looked towards the mixing console as an instrument although he is often accompanied by a band.
Amazingly, after all these years Lee Scratch Perry is still recording new material and touring the world. Bare in mind the guy is 82 years old and possibly half mad!
Recently the flamboyant artist made his way to The Watering Hole, Perranporth to dazzle the Cornish audience with his heavy basslines and recognisable vocals.
For those of you that don’t know who Lee Scratch is or what he looks like, he is renown for garnering a collection of trinkets and colourful clothing, most of which he has made himself. To say his outfit at The Watering Hole didn’t disappoint would be an understatement.
He came out through a puff of smoke donning a colourful (possibly hand painted) jacket that was covered in badges, trinkets and glued on sequins. His hair and beard was dyed red and his hat, similar to his jacket was covered in an array of different items, topping the hat off was a giant diamond.
His music was just as bewildering as his outfit, it was hard to make out what song was what, if it was even a song at all. A lot of his set felt like the random ramblings of a semi-sober mad man. This isn’t to say it wasn’t entertaining, it really was! In fact watching an artist who is considered an legend and a pioneer work was really brilliant. It’s hard not to be slightly baffled though. Perhaps that is the attraction of his music and live performance, it’s a dazzling experience that is designed to bewilder and confuse.
However, the crowd adored him and he in return, adored them back. It was clear that Lee Scratch Perry was having a lot of fun and even in his old age managed to manoeuvre a few cheeky dance moves, that consisted of the ‘hop’ and ‘shake’.
It was amazing to be stood literally a foot away from a living music legend, to have photographed him was an honour and to hear him perform live was a pleasure. Even if the overall show was somewhat bewildering.
By Kieran Webber