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Published on May 19th, 2006 | by admin

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Lee Scratch Perry

I and I battled multiple personality disorder for much of his adult life.

I and I battled multiple personality disorder for much of his adult life.

Legendary dub/reggae producer Lee Scratch Perry has been known for a long time as an eccentric master of dub, capable of moments of both genius and sheer madness. He’s responsible for ripping off Bob Marley and setting his own studio on fire, so the crowd arriving at the Prince of Wales expecting insanity.

And they received it.

Perry last terrorised Australian shores two years ago, and was set to do so again to a packed room in is promoted as being his last Australian tour. Supported by PBS reggae producer Jesse I and fellow Chant Down Sound member Ras Crucial, as well as dub outfit Heartical Hi-Fi, this night was set to charge the punters with the full Rastafari feeling.

With the Perry-produced documentary The Ultimate Destruction playing on a big screen on the side of the stage pumping up the crowd before his appearance, it was difficult to imagine that this appearance could be anything but a success.

Jesse I and Ras Crucial warmed up the crowd with alluringly warm beats, topped with some very cool MC work. They were followed by Heartical Hi-Fi’s effect heavy set, backed up by some awesome sax sounds.

But as soon as the Mad Professor hit the decks, the packed Prince Bandroom went nuts, which was only topped by the entrance of the “Super Ape” man himself.

Wearing bling that would put any rap poseur to shame, the 69-year-old Perry dazzled the crowd, constantly moving up and down the stage and receiving praise by the loyal Rasta-loving crowd. A rousing rendition of Soul Rebel was immediately picked up by the audience and sent the gig into overdrive. I’d always thought the idea of music “covering you like a warm blanket” was rubbish, until the bass from the Mad Professor literally made the hair on my arms stand up.

By the end of the show the punters — tired and joyful — gave Perry a suitable sendoff. The Mad Professor continued the beats until the early hours of Thursday morning, but nothing could top Perry’s own energetic display.

They say that genius and madness are equally balanced, that one can’t live without the other. This is certain in the existence of Lee Scratch Perry.

Much respect.

By Matt Soccio

 


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