Roots Manuva

July 21st, 2004

Channel 4’s ‘The Summer Sessions’ — Roots Manuva and special guests Asian Dub Foundation featuring Chuck D. 20th July.

Somerset house as a music venue is an interesting one. Imagine if you will, a huge stage and an impressive crowd dumped in the middle of an old establishment buildings courtyard. It looked good and felt good and once Asian Dub Foundation opened up the night, it sounded awesome. Running through crowd favourites of a diverse array of vibes, with lots of pounding percussion and rugged vocals, the energy levels of the sell-out crowd increased significantly, especially when Public Enemy front man Chuck D arrived. Performing hits including ‘Son of a Bush’ and ‘Fight The Power’ and running through the usual middle finger waves at the names of Bush and Blair everyone was evidently in extremely high spirits. Never the same without the stage antics of Flava Flav and Professor Griff, the set however worked very well with the absence of Flava’s sometimes awful screeching. After a short wait in which Jurassic 5’s ‘Power In Numbers’ LP was fittingly played, Roots Manuva’s live band set up. Comprised of a drummer, bassist, a DJ, guitarist and two hype men, the band launched into some suitable warm up Dub grooves before the man himself took to the stage. Manuva had a presence. Suited, he strolled from left to right soaking in the abundance of appreciation everyone evidently held for the charismatic MC. Breezing through favourites from both of his albums, he then treated the crowd to one or two new tracks from his forthcoming September release including ‘Check It Out’ which has already had some airplay on 1xtra, and which the crowd were already reacting to as if it was an old Roots classic. The atmosphere reached its highest point when the band teased the audience with the bassline of the fantastic ‘Witness’. After a few false starts, the song finally began and everyone went wild. It looked for a while that there would be an encore but as instruments were taken of stage, it became clear there wouldn’t, but after an hour or more of the many flavours Roots Manuva’s back catalogue and new material has to offer, we could hardly ask for more.