Gig review: Dillinger & Yellowman @ Band On The Wall, Manchester

Bonafide dancehall legends Dillinger and Yellowman’s double-headline show at Band On The Wall wass a dream come true for reggae fans.

The whirlwind UK tour has taken them to Cardiff, London and Brighton before they thrilled Manchester audiences.

Dillinger (so-named after the American gangster John Dillinger by the equally-legendary Lee “Scratch”Perry) is up first.

In a gold shirt (and matching teeth), trilby and sunglasses he is every inch the reggae icon as he struts around the stage belting out a megamix of his own songs.

TO THE POINT: Dillinger struts his stuff

He also produces a selection of covers including Anthony B’s Freedom Fighter, Mighty Diamonds’ I Need a Roof and Pass the Kouchie by Musical Youth.

He leaves the best to last, climaxing with the classic Cocaine on my Brain.

MELLOW YELLOW: Yellowman makes the most of the crowd’s adulation

After the briefest of interludes, Yellowman takes to the stage to a roar of delight from the audience.

In his heyday in the early 1980’s, Yellowman was the second-biggest selling reggae artist after Bob Marley.

Now, almost 60 years old and having lost a large portion of his jaw bone due to skin cancer, Yellowman may have seen some of his vocal strength depart but his stage presence and charisma are as impressive as ever.

Dressed head-to-toe in combat gear, he bounds around the stage with unstoppable energy and enthusiasm, shaking hands and swapping quips with the audience.

He bounced, flexed muscles and high-kicked through a selection of his greatest hits while the crowd sang along in glee.

TEAM EFFORT: Yellowman shared the stage with the Saggittarius band

Powerful anthem Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt, the hypnotic and tongue-twisting Zungguzungguguguzugguzeng and the laidback Mr Chin all feature, as does a fantastic cover of Fat’s Domino’s Blueberry Hill.

Both artists are ably-supported by the superb Sagittarius band, who keep the music pumping all night.
After a blistering 90-minute set and with Dillinger watching from the side of the stage Yellowman finally winds down for the evening.

Both these sons of Jamaica have proved they still deserve to wear the crowns of Reggae royalty.

All photography by Rachel Bywater Photography.

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