Tuesday February 27 Union Hall
Katchafire are a summer festival staple, so it was no surprise that the band and their fellow tourists, dDub, took on the 2007 Orientation tour as well. Local act Pacific Bass Culture opened the evening to a small but curious audience. As a collective, their lineup tends to vary – the performance included turntables and a horn section. They augmented their dub sound with fuzzy electric guitar and strong vocal harmonies.
dDub have had some exposure on a national level – their single ‘Give Up Your Love’ received airplay on commercial radio, and their debut album, Awake At Dawn, was released last year. Judging by the enthusiastic welcome they received from the audience, the band arrived at the Union hall with a pre-established fan base. The lively set they presented certainly fostered a few new fans (myself included). The band drew on ska and dub traditions, with the resulting sound less like a blend of the two but a seamless progression from one to the other, often mid-song. They charged their tunes with true energy – taking control of the crowd, building to a climax, then launching into something new. Even at the tail end of a heavy summer tour, dDub were never lacking in momentum and their tight-knit rhythms definitely had the audience moving.
By the time Katchafire took the stage, the crowd had swelled considerably, obviously hungry for more. And they delivered, positively oozing confidence as they churned out all their hits. The tightly wound rhythm of ‘Done Did It’ was a highlight, while the more sombre ‘Sensimillia’ provided cause for thought. They also threw in two tracks from their forthcoming album, to unanimous approval from the crowd. ‘Redemption Song’ got an airing, clearly still a band favourite from their beginnings as a Bob Marley tribute group. To their credit, Katchafire remained true to the original, not overdoing their own contribution. A selection of other genre classics followed, rounding out a hefty set. The audience left with their desire for a groove well and truly fulfilled and spirits comprehensively lifted.