LIVE: Jah9 @ Band On The Wall
WORDS BY TIM MOONEY PHOTO BY SHIGETO MIYATA
Jah9 is a perfect choice for Band On The Wall with her powerfully unique vocals and endearing stage persona. I’ve always been a fan of the more intimate venues when it comes to live music, and the relaxed atmosphere of Band On The Wall will always be one of my favourite Manchester venues for fitting the intimacy criteria so perfectly. With no barrier between audience and stage, any band that performs at this venue can effortlessly engage with their people in such a way that you would soon believe they are there for you and no one else.
Accompanied by her four piece backing band The Dub Treatment relaying sultry reggae rhythms with the occasional virtuoso burst on each instrument, all was set for a peaceful evening of cheerful reggae tunes. The Dub Treatment’s look matched the classic reggae aesthetic, with dreadlocks, baggy clothes as well as green, gold and red colours typical of their genre. Watching them perform together instantly knocked me in to a good mood. They would gently sway and regularly smile at one another, making it feel as though the audience were sitting in on a casual jam session in the basement of The Dub Treatment’s house.
Jah9 entered the stage wrapped up warm for the cold streets of Manchester. Band On The Wall may be a small venue, but it certainly felt quite cold inside. It only took a matter of seconds for Jah9 to accentuate the pure power and tunefulness of her voice. With reverb and delay effects occasionally being added to the mic, her voice filled the venue and bounced off the walls around her, engulfing the swaying audience as they watched in awe. Before some songs, Jah9 would address the crowd with a rousing spoken word interlude urging us to feel unique or stick together.
The theme of feminism shone through perfectly as she addressed the ladies of the crowd and encouraged them to join her on certain tracks. It was clear that Jah9 had a few political views to express, but she did so in such a way that it felt like part of the music, rather than the sardonic ramblings of a bitter front-woman. Ending with popular track ‘Steamers A Bubble’, Jah9 had parted with her coat and was parading around the stage with pure energy, projecting musical notes from her voice with raw power. The Dub Treatment took it in turns to perform a short solo each, showing off their musical virtuosity, before Jah9 left the stage allowing for the band to finish off as they had started. Leaving the audience feeling relaxed, cheerful, and somewhat inspired by Jah9 ’s impressive vocals and the power she brings to her performance.