City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Liquid Room, Review

By Euan Andrews - Posted on 19 November 2012

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The Liquid Room

It’s been a long road for Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Upsetter at the pulsing centre of dub, and at the age of 76, it’s easy to be doubtful as to what tonight will bring performance-wise. A mellow, grooving Liquid Room crowd are clearly up for a good time, however, despite it being a chilly Monday night in November outside.

With a crack four-man band of keyboards, bass, guitar and drums thumping out a professionally serviceable mild reggae beat, Perry clambers onto the stage, a wizened elf decked out in his trademark CD hat and colourfully ripped military jacket and shorts, beard died bright red clutching a Morrison’s shopping bag filled with family-size bars of chocolate which he hurls into the audience whenever there’s a lull.

Yet, over the course of a 75-minute performance, there are precious few lulls as Perry bounces around the stage, pontificating on nonsense and generally having far more energy and resilience than one would expect from someone midway through their eighth decade.

His topics range from scatological pronouncements on the joys of shit and piss to fiery reminders of his burning down of The Black Ark, the Jamaican recording studio where he produced his most notable work in the 1970s’.

Musically, much of the evening is dub reggae at its most silkily smooth, only delving into the waters of righteous blood and fire briefly in the last half hour. But the audience is clearly still satisfied just to see Perry, a living legend in his field, in the flesh and so full of life.

Lee “Scratch” Perry has more than staked his claim in the rollcall of 20th century musical pioneers and if he wants to spend his gigs babbling about being a madman and how mankind needs telepathic commandment while hurling Aero bars at us, then that is just fine.