African Head Charge, The Garage, London 1998
One of my all time favourite producers/sound sculpters has to be Adrian Sherwood - his On-U Sound label was a missing link between Jamaican bass culture and industrial, post-punk activism that proved to be incredibly popular with New Zealand Student Radio listeners in the early- to mid-1990s. That popularity meant we were lucky enough to get African Head Charge, Tackhead, Gary Clail, Audio Active and Sherwood himself all to Aotearoa in that period. So, it seemed pretty obvious that when I went to the UK, surely I could dine out weekly on On-U Sound’s finest. However, it was not meant to be - strangely, London proved to be a place where (on the gigging surface at least) On-U Sound did not spend much time outside a studio. This is what made a night out with African Head Charge so much fun. This runaway, percussive collective of ‘African Psychedelia’ skippered by Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah whipped the small-ish Garage into a non-stop groove, but the crowd felt a liitle restrained in comparison to the gyrating mass at Vic Uni’s Union gig (1995 or 1996?). I dragged a mate, Matt, along for the night though, and he loved it. Got him away from that electronic Trance rubbish for a few hours at least, and put a little riddum in him. Weirdly this marked a high water mark of dub & reggae for me in London. After this it tended to be rock gigs, or techno nights. Guess I was running with a new crew - but isn’t that what leaving home is about? Fave album for me is In Pursuit of Shashamane Land, and the hymn-like Heading To Glory is a great place to start. Mesmerising.