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Toots and the Maytals review: The veteran band leader showed he can still rock out

PUBLISHED: 12:24 15 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:24 15 October 2018

Reggae legends Toots & the Maytals. Photo: MP Promotions

Reggae legends Toots & the Maytals. Photo: MP Promotions

Archant

All hail legendary reggae pioneer Toots Hibbert and his merry octet of Maytals as they skanked along nicely at the UEA on Sunday night.

Toots was the man who first coined the phrase ‘reggae’ exactly 50 years ago, thus creating the Caribbean-centred genre that lives on today.

And the veteran band leader showed he can still rock out, although in all honesty, it did take the best part of an hour for this gig to really get going.

Dressed in a fetching red leather ensemble with bicep-revealing waistcoat, shades and a bandana, he certainly looks the part, and, given the fact he’s not all that far from 80, it’s understandable that the first 55 minutes were fairly pedestrian with most songs being sped up in the last minute to get the crowd moving.

It all seemed to be lacking in energy, but maybe it was all being saved up for the last half an hour as it seemed to all happen then.

Firstly their cover of the Kingsmen’s Louie Louie raises proceedings a notch or two and then Toots and co drop new release Marley, which, for a very basic reggae song, actually packs a bit of a punch.

This leads into their well-received cover of John Denver’s Country Roads, which they first reggae-fied 45 years ago before the roof is finally raised with their best song, Monkey Man, which was famously covered by both The Specials and, later, Amy Winehouse.

If only they’d dropped one of those roof raisers into the first half of the set I probably would have enjoyed the gig more, but to be fair to Toots, at 76 and with his status in the world of reggae, he can pretty much do what he wants.

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