21 October 2014

Lee 'Scratch' Perry and The Upsetters - Live in London - Under The Bridge

Lee 'Scratch' Perry and The Upsetters London Under The Bridge

Lee 'Scratch' Perry and The UpsettersLive in Concert - Under The Bridge, London

1st December 2014

On the 1st December, West London’s premiere music venue Under The Bridge plays host to a true legend of modern music. During the late 60s and 1970s, Lee “Scratch” Perry was influential in the development and acceptance of reggae and dub music.  Arguably the first creatively driven "artist-producer" in modern recorded music, Perry was noted for his innovative studio techniques and production values. Perry was one of the pioneers in the development of djing and dub music with his early adoption of effects and remixing to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks.

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry started off working with Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd's and Joe Gibbs for their labels Studio One and Wirl Records respectively, before forming his own label, Upsetter Records, in 1968. Working with his studio band The Upsetters until 1972, in 1973 he opened the now legendary Black Ark Studios and produced genre-defining albums by Bob Marley and the Wailers, The Congos, The Heptones and Max Romeo. Virtually everything Perry recorded in The Black Ark was done using basic recording equipment; through sonic sleight-of-hand, Perry made it sound unique.

By 1978, stress and unwanted outside influences began to take their toll: both Perry and The Black Ark quickly fell into a state of disrepair. Eventually, the studio burned to the ground. Perry has constantly insisted that he burned the Black Ark himself in a fit of rage.

Perry lost his way throughout the 80s, however his career was put back on track when he started to work with British producers Adrian Sherwood and Mad Professor, his resurgence in creativity also linked to the decision to give up cannabis and alcohol. In 1998, a feature on the Beastie Boys track ‘Dr. Lee Phd.’ Gained him wider recognition, then in 1993 he was awarded the Grammy for Best Reggae Album for ‘Jamaican E.T.’. Since then Perry’s career has seen him work with The Slits, Panda Bear (of Animal Collective), The Orb and Diplo.

Restlessly creative and still as enigmatic as ever, he continues to tour with The Upsetters, his madcap live shows earning notoriety for their eccentricity and flair, during his last trip to the UK he declared “I am Peter Pan, I can fly. I never want to die!

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