The New York reggae outfit with a strange habit or reinventing rock albums we thought we all knew to saturation point already must have wondered what to expect from this venue – we’re playing where? On a summer’s afternoon on a stage set on a headland stretching itself out in the North Sea against a backdrop of buildings from the 13th century – some new bits were added in the 15th century – with medieval flags fluttering in the warm breeze this is definitely a different sort of place to see the band, just as it must have been to play. It seemed to have an effect on crowd and band alike with an infectious kind of positive energy. The set started in a lively style with Bed of Rose from their EP ‘Until that Day’, then it was into selections from their three covers of classic rock albums. These were principally drawn from last year’s ‘Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band’, starting with Sergeant Pepper then into With a Little Help from my Friends, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and She’s Leaving Home.
These come over much more strongly live than in the recorded versions, a great stage presence, powerful sound system and excellent musicianship. There were two songs from ‘Radiodread’ (their cover of OK Computer) in the shape of two of the strongest and most affecting Radiohead tracks, Paranoid Android and Karma Police, with Kirsty Rock on vocals (though sadly no Let Down, a highlight of Radiodread). There’s a nod to their first venture into reinterpreting classic albums in a reggae style by the inclusion of Money from ‘Dub Side of the Moon’, but towards the end of the set they find room to return to Lonely Heart’s Dub Band for When I’m Sixty Four, doing a fine job of dubbing it up in the extended final section. This was a great session.
The Easy Stars are touring, due for more dates in the UK, Italy, France, the USA, Canada and the delightful Sziget festival in Hungary. See www.easystar.com for more details. So if you are still unpersuaded by the idea of some New York musicians specialising in meticulously produced covers of classic rock albums in a reggae style you can go listen for yourself somewhere near you soon.