Review: King Sturgav, Volcano, Yellowman, Cocoa Tea and Frankie Paul @ The O2, London


Coco Tea and Yellowman performing together in London

Cocoa Tea and Yellowman, pic courtesy of Francesca Quaas

Legendary Jamaican soundsystems Volcano (founded by producer Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes and selector Danny Dread) and King Sturgav (founded by rap godfather U Roy), joined forces to perform at the O2 in Brixton, south London last week, but despite a great turn out, the show suffered from a few technical glitches, writes Nadine White.

This was a highly anticipated night and will go down in history as the first time that the legendary two sound systems have played in the same building.

With an all-star lineup of original dancehall artists like Yellowman, Cocoa Tea, U Roy, Brigadier Jerry, Frankie Paul, Little Twitch and Little John, the auditorium was packed with around 3,000 people, eager to skank into Sunday morning.

So eager was the crowd, that the selectors were inundated with ‘boos’, as the show’s scheduled start time was being pushed back further and further.

Thankfully, these veteran artists have not lost their touch, and each performed successfully, engaging the crowd with entertaining sets.

As usual, Frankie Paul was note perfect, delivering classics such as Sara, I Know the Score, and Tu-Sheng-Peng for the crowd who frequently finished the song lyrics for him.

Next up was the man many patrons had been waiting for, the king of dancehall, Yellowman, who burst on to the stage, jumped, ran and brought an effervescent vibe to the place that had been previously missing throughout.


King Yellow whisked through hits such as I’m Getting Married and Zungguzungg, but shockingly his performance was only 10-minutes long. Likewise, daddy U Roy was not on stage for very long, and the reason for such short performances was never explained.

Due to the lack of compere, the audience had to rely heavily on hearsay, guesswork and ‘passa’ to decipher which of the lesser-known artists were performing; so echoes of ‘ Yo, a who dat?’ reverberated around the room all too often.

It was impossible to tell which sound was playing so I still have no idea what Danny Dread looks like and who was selecting for Sturgav.

Sadly, the sound was flat, which was a major let down for night billed as a sound system extravaganza. Neither sound can be classed as ‘tin pan’, but technical glitches meant that’s exactly how they came across. This had a knock-on effect, which flattened the vibes overall.

On a more positive note, Cocoa Tea carried the show singing through his catalogue of hits, including Girl Go Home and Tune In, encouraging the crowd to rock and sway along to his classics.

Towards the end though, Cocoa was driven to curse in frustration at the poor sound quality and apparently, much to crowd’s agreement.

Much respect to all of the billed artists who can certainly teach the current crop of hot artists a thing or two about performing.

Unfortunately, although auspicious, the event was let down by a few problems. Nevertheless, big respect to the promoters who did well to pack out the venue. BV Rating 3 out of 5

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