Review: Dreadzone, Epic Studios, Norwich, rich fusion of sounds delivered with unwavering passion
- Credit: Patrick Widdess
The summer festival season came early to Norwich as Dreadzone got everyone moving to a sunnier groove with their distinctive brand of global dance music at Epic Studios last night [February 3].
The band are riding high on the success of their latest album Dread Times which they mixed with tunes spanning 25 years during an energetic and uplifting 90-minute set.
Only four of the current six-man lineup were on stage but they formed a tight unit. Greg Dread was a particularly lively drummer frequently jumping to his feet and adding backing vocals. Leo Williams jived along to his smooth reggae bass lines while younger member Bazil added the electronic elements.
But it was frontman MC Spee who stole the show. A cockney geezer possessed by the spirit of Bob Marley, he slipped effortlessly between soft, uplifting reggae melodies and spitting lyrics at lightning speed in a ragga style, an MC, lead singer and backing vocalist rolled into one.
Although he remained seated for most of the night due to a leg injury he threw himself into the performance heart, body and soul. He danced as best he could sitting down, brandishing his crutch like a wizard's staff and hailing the crowd in a manner both slick and spontaneous.
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While the band's roots come from 90s dance and dub reggae there were elements of folk, rock, bhangra, grime and many more flavours throughout the set. With this rich fusion of sounds delivered with unwavering passion it is not hard to see why the band have remained a firm live favourite for so long.
The set culminated in the song that put them on the map, Little Britain. The crowd needed little encouragement to call for an encore which ended with another old favourite Captain Dread. The infectious mix of big beat and pirate folk had the whole room dancing beneath the bright lights, the cold winter night forgotten over a few happy hours.
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