Reggae comes to Thurles

Reggae comes to Thurles

Bank holiday Monday Night at Kennedy’s pub was the place to be, where for the entrance price of five euro only, gained you entry to see two live acts. Kennedy’s offer their customers an adequate sized venue with good comfortable surroundings; providing their live acts with a good stage, in-house excellent sound, and lighting.

There was a good crowd gathering in anticipation of the main act “Natty Wailer and the Reggae Vibes” aka as Nathinal Ian Wynter, who toured with Bob Marley and the Wailers as a keyboard player for over nine years. There was a friendly atmosphere among the people, ranging from Grannies to grandchildren; some dressed as Rastafarians while others wore all kinds of colourful garb.

I was one of the lucky ones having arrived at 9pm, in order to purchase a table near the stage. At 9.30pm the support act: Kenna & Cox a duo from Australia started into their set, Chris Kenna acoustic guitar, and lead vocalist and Melissa Cox, violin and backing vocals. They performed several tracks from their recent album “One night in Paris” stand out tracks for me included “big old house”  and “I told the Judge the truth” Chris has a strong base voice that suits his songs; while Melissa provides hauntingly beautiful accompaniment with the violin. Unfortunately their set ended all too quickly and by 10pm they were finished, however I was able to buy their CD not so bad?

10.10pm the man pronounces himself the one and only Natty Wailer, if his attire is anything to go by then we’re in for a treat, Natty has a four piece ensemble with him; percussionist, lead guitarist, base player, and a backing singer, Natty plays rhythm and keyboard. He greets his audience “hello brothers and sisters, we gonna have a good time, time for jammin” The almost full to capacity crowd roar their approval “yeah we’re in for a good time alright” the band break out with “Punky Reggae Party” a reggae song by Bob Marley recorded and released in 1977. By the end of the second number nearly everyone in the room is up on their feet dancing.  His set is peppered with the best of Bob Marley along with tracks from his own albums, some of the numbers are extended jams, and like an experienced fisherman “just when the fish thinks he’s off the hook” he reels him in. Other numbers such as “Three little birds, Waiting in Vain, and Exodus” kept the mood moving smoothly.  It was such songs as “Get up Stand up and No woman no cry” that stood out for me and when Natty invited one of the women from the floor to come up and sing the lead vocal, this gesture was greeted with rapturous applause, however my night was made with Natty and the Reggae Vibes rendition of the “Redemption song”. The gig finally finished around 12.30, well worth a fiver of anyone’s money.

Natty is a charming and energetic man with great stage present, he is surrounded with an excellent band with a really tight sound, Natty is the consummate musician who encourages everyone to join in and have a good time and if Natty makes a return visit! I for one will be there.

Jake Butler Oct 2012

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