This month London’s Royal Festival Hall holds its annual “Meltdown” music festival, where a seminal pop figure is given three weeks to fill with whichever acts they like.
The organisers have clearly been listening to critics who derided last year’s line-up (curator: David Bowie) as being too safe, because this time they’ve given the gig to The Upsetter, Pipecock Jackxon, The Super Ape, The Firmament Computer, Jack Lightning: Lee “Scratch” Perry – reggae’s finest, all-conquering, grade-A, four-wheel-drive crystal nutter. (This is a man who burnt down his own studio, the legendary Black Ark, because he’d lost his favourite rubber ball.)
The line-up is obviously heavily reggae/dub-influenced, but there are some fascinating combinations in there. I’ve got tickets for the Tortoise/Perry/Mad Professor/Coldcut/Bees evening, which (given that when I bought tickets, they were right up at the back) is almost certainly sold out by now. However, there are still plenty of seats left for the “Lover’s Rock” night, which I’d highly recommend having seen the fantastic Susan Cadogan performing with The Slackers at Dingwalls a month ago.
As well as the gigs, there’s a whole load of free stuff going on, most notably the “Black Ark Study Centre” which I’m going to try and drag Paul along to. (I wonder if they’ll let us bring matches in…)