Reggae artist Natty hosted an acoustic jam night in Dalston and invited some famous friends down to perform with him. Here’s how the night went.
Words: Alex Hurd, Sub editor: Mattia Bosio
In a small, intimate Dalston venue, people are sat in comfortable sofas or waiting cross legged on the colourful rugs on the floor. Patiently waiting for Natty.
The night is billed as an acoustic jam session with Natty and his band The Rebelship, plus some extra special guests invited by the host. Eventually the dreadlocked 32 year old who grew up in Finsbury Park, makes his way to the stool on the tiny stage and the evening kicks off.
Natty asks the small but eager crowd to imagine themselves in his living room and he attempts to capture that image by playing three songs solo. The opener is a soft and intricately picked folk number that gently underlies Natty’s strong, distinctive vocals. This is met with appreciative applause that contrasts with the unmistakeable sound of his acoustic guitar being tuned down to Drop D.
His second song is more uptempo, with Natty floating away from his roots reggae style towards more classic blues territory. This was a pleasant surprise that showed off his musical talent, before ending his quick solo set with the crowd pleasing, ‘Coloured Souls’ off his debut album: ‘Man Like I’.
The event progressed with more artists being invited to the stage. First his organ player and lead guitarist from The Rebelship and then another singer-songwriter, Joshua Osho. Both Natty and Osho’s vocals harmonised beautifully and his mellow guitar licks over Natty’s rhythm guitar were stylish and added depth. Although they only were jamming, the extra instruments added more layers on top which displayed an impressive improvisation to the crowd by the men on stage.
The man with the voice of the night, Liam Bailey was added to the mix and Natty moved across to drum duties. Baileys calibre can be measured by Amy Winehouse hunting him down for his soulful voice and had planned to sing with him before her death. Fans of Chase and Status will also recognise his vocals on their top ten single, Blind Faith.
Bailey’s heartfelt vocals are an example of true soul, which lit up the evening and was easily one of the highlights. In contrast, Natty moving over to the drums may not have been the smartest move. Although this man clearly has rhythm on the guitar, it doesn’t quite transfer over to when he is holding the sticks. He appeared lost sat at the stool, with the beat becoming sloppy and going out a few times. But top marks for trying.
The host is involved in charity, being a member of the Erase Foundation which helps support communities in South and West Africa. It is through these Vibes and Pressure events that some of the proceeds go towards these positive causes, so credit to an artist of that size choosing to play an event that small.
Musically, the night flowed perfectly with solid guitar playing and powerful vocals form everyone involved. Although Natty normally plays much louder with a full eight piece band, he proved he can still put on a classy show with only acoustic instruments and a few of his mates.
— natty & th rebelship (@NattyMusic) December 9, 2015