Sunday, September 9, 2007

Pulse update: sad news for UK Pulsers

If anyone thinks that performing in one of the world's greatest reggae bands is anything other than damn hard work, then read the Selwyn Brown blog on the official Steel Pulse website here. Read for yourself how travelling and performing is about all the band have time for during their relentless touring in the United States. One downside of their popularity Stateside is that their scheduled gigs in London and Birmingham in September have been cancelled. The band simply don't play often enough on their own turf, so this is a major blow to their UK supporters.

However, some lucky punters will have seen them perform at the WOMAD festival on July 29th. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of the lucky ones. So the next best thing was to read Selwyn's blog from the festival:
"Next morning we left the hotel at 8 am to catch our flights to the UK where we were due to play the WOMAD festival on the Sunday. We caught an 11.30am flight via Houston and arrived at Gatwick, London at 7 am the next morning. We were met at the airport by 2 splitter buses which drove us the 3 hours to Malmesbury in Wiltshire. However, along the way we stopped off at a hardware outlet to pick up some wellingtons (waterproof boots) and black bags/tape. Reason?...... we were tipped off by our management that the festival site is covered in mud and normal footwear is not advised. We only managed to find 4 or 5 pairs that would fit and the rest of us had to make do with black bags taped and wrapped over shoes.

We arrived at around noon at the site where we were met by the festival assistants/ helpers/liason folks. The place really WAS a mudbath and it's a good job we decided to get the wellies and bags. I wrapped some black bags over my shoes and taped them to my calves, then proceeded to navigate the 'mud rink". Everyone was in great spirits and made a joke of the circumstances we were all in. I've got some great photos of the various footwear which everyone adorned themselves with. We were due to go onstage at 4 pm but the promoters asked us to go on earlier as one of the acts got stranded at the airport. After a quick line check we hit the stage at 3 pm and our tent was packed to the rafters with mud-soaked fans, most of whom had been camping on-site since Thursday.
We had a few technical problems onstage but it didn't diminish the great vibes we shared between ourselves and the audience. We also greeted several friends and family who attended the festival, most of whom had traveled down from Birmingham. After the show I jumped on one of the fairground rides with my daughter Aaliyah then plodded through the mud back to the food tent to grab something to eat. After that we sat through a rough edit of the Door of No Return video which had been brought down by Trishul, Yoni and Karsten from the film crew.
Then it was time to head back to Birmingham before the traffic built up. We were back in B'ham by 9pm and I made sure everyone got checked into the hotel ok ( We'd be spending 4 days in B'ham before heading to Portugal for the next show ). Sid, Moonie, C Sharp, Derrick and Dave Jacobs all came round to my place for dinner on the Wednesday. I also picked up Griz to join us and it was great for everyone to link up and just chill for a while. On Friday morning we were picked up and left B'ham by 4 am to drive to Heathrow for the flight to Portugal."

I was also very interested to read about their gig in Saratoga on 8 August. Instead of an opening act, the promoters had suggested a Q&A session with the audience, so Selwyn, David, Sidney and Amlak invited questions from the audience ranging from their views on various issues to the future/present projects and how the band started and how they'd survived for 30 years. A great idea in my book and one which I'd love the band to do at one of their future UK gigs if the opportunity arises. I know Selwyn really enjoyed the chance to chew the fat with the fans.
After appearances in New Caledonia and Tahiti next week, Steel Pulse head back to the States for a few gigs to close September and are looking likely to be over in Senegal, Ivory Coast and Bukino Faso sometime in October. The video of their Door of No Return track, shot in New York City and Senegal, should be out very soon.
Link: Steel Pulse official website, my unofficial website.


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