Third World @ The Buttermarket, Shrewsbury - 4th October 2007
I admit I’d been looking forward to this gig since it’s announcement – firstly because it’s the Third World band, but also because I just love The Buttermarket as a venue for live music. With only two steps leading to the stage, you don’t just feel that you’re close to the band, you really are. With a token crowd barrier in place, we were given a birds-eye view of the band throughout, with Bunny Rugs working the front row shaking hands as he went.
I’d already seen Third World earlier this year at the Made In Jamaica night in Brixton, but this was going to be a less frustrating night for sure. Then they filled just 40 minutes due to the pressures of having four acts on the bill, and left us all wanting a lot more. Tonight we got the whole nine yards, although the choice of music was a little bit of a surprise. Third World have only recently released their new album Black Gold & Green, but they did not play any of their new material tonight. A shame, because a real stand-out track on the album for me is a cover of the Joe Higgs song There’s A Reward, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Although the band played the hits that you would expect such as Now That We Found Love, 96 Degrees In The Shade, Satta Massagana and Dancing On The Floor, they also played numbers from a wide selection of albums.
The band warmed up with Jah Jah Children Moving Up from the 1982 album You’ve Got The Power. They quickly moved onto Reggae Party and then really moved into their stride with Forbidden Love. The crowd was vocal without being noisy, in a laid-back relaxed fashion which is typical of this venue. You’re able to hear the music without the incessant chatter that you get at some venues – just because the crowd are not whistling and shouting full-on doesn’t mean that they aren’t enjoying themselves. The band was trying to stir us all up, Cat in particular, but that was to be saved for the second half of the show. I wasn’t familiar with the song The Spirit Lives, which had a rich roots feeling to it, and from this point I started to really feel the rhythms. The combination of Satta Massagana, 96 Degrees and Jah Glory in quick succession left me in my own personal nirvana.
The tunes Dancing On The Floor and Roots With Quality followed and, just after the half-way point, Tony ‘Ruption’ Williams performed an astonishing drum solo, where I could have sworn there was more than one drummer in the house. This led us straight into Now That We Found Love, and it was at this point that Rugs reminded us that the band was now 34 years old! Strictly there are only two original members remaining, being Stephen ‘Cat’ Coore on lead guitar and vocals and Richard ‘Bassie’ Daley on bass, but I still consider William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clark to be an original, appearing as he did from their second album only 30 years ago! ‘Ruption’ on drums and Herbert ‘Herbie’ Harris on keyboards complete the band, although they were accompanied by another unnamed keyboard player this evening. With a little slip into Lagos Jump during NTWFL, Bunny Rugs was chatting with the crowd and complimenting us for our singing abilities. We were at our happiest now, encouraging the band, a sea of happy smiling faces. A great rendition of Reggae Ambassador included a tribute section before the band then left the stage to whoops and hollers.
Cat had thrilled us throughout with his fretwork but, for the encore, he started us off with his cello playing Rastaman Chant. Rugs then returned to sing the delightful If I Follow My Heart, before the band finished off by returning to their roots with a storming ten-minute version of Rhythm Of Life. A great night of reggae music lasting over an hour and a half from a band that I have loved since their first album hit my turntable back in 70’s. They have courted criticism for their choice in musical direction over the years, unfairly in my opinion, but you cannot dispute that they have been, and still remain, one of the hottest live reggae acts in the world. Rugs said that he hoped that they’d be back next year, and I for one can’t wait!
Review by Bob Schaffert