Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (Live Review)

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.
The Jazz Café, Camden.
22nd January 2010.

Virgins to the live experience that is Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry may have been expecting a competent, if slightly shaky, run through of a vast back catalogue. The Upsetter’s regular followers, however, will know better.
Perry’s backing band tonight is made up of tight yet expressive reggae performers, the eldest of which must be half the singer’s age. During an instrumental medley of reggae hits, the dub veteran appears, ambling his way to the stage. Upon arrival he leads what seems to be an exercise workout, encouraging the audience to “touch your toes”. As the set goes on he spouts similar ramblings (“I don’t exercise any more, I just sexercise”), alongside comical toasting, joyful singing, and energetic movement that belies his 73 years. He plays no recognisable songs, but regularly digs in to a suitcase he has dragged onstage with him, producing a range of novelty hats. The varied crowd cheer adoringly as Perry makes his way back offstage, flashes of bright red hair the last we see of him tonight.

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