With Reggae Xmas now firmly established at The Bullingdon after 20 years down the road at the ZO2diac, it felt like the right time to extend the festivities to Easter Sunday – with a live set from perennial favourites Laid Blak. Widely considered to be the best live dancehall act in the UK, the 7-piece were recently voted the best reggae band in northern Europe. In truth, their sound owes as much to their native Bristol as it does to Kingston, Jamaica, and it’s this that makes them such a vibrant, unique band.
On the decks, get ready for something really special – as BBC 6Music and Big Audio Dynamite‘s Don Letts joins Count Skylarkin to pay tribute to their friend, the late, great DJ Derek. Expect heard and unheard reggae, ska, soul, rhythm & blues and calypso direct from the legendary selector’s personal collection.
* * * * *
DJ Derek was a musical institution. His close friend and fellow DJ Count Skylarkin has spent the months since Derek’s funeral trawling through the great man’s legendary collection, and will be dipping into those famous Sweet Memory Sounds for an Easter Sunday Special.
Also on record-spinning duties is award-winning film-maker and broadcaster Don Letts. Credited as being the man who introduced the punks to reggae as resident DJ at The Roxy in 1976, the years since have seen The Don form Big Audio Dynamite with The Clash’s Mick Jones, pick up a Grammy for Westway To The World and collaborate with DJ Derek on the as-yet-unreleased portrait ‘Ring The Alarm’.
Playing live, Derek’s fellow Bristolians Laid Blak need no introduction. An acclaimed 7-piece live band featuring legendary west country mic-man Joe Peng and the record-cutting skills of DJ Bunjy, or as Derek knew him, “Young Ivor”.
“To say that Derek made the world a better place sounds trite but it’s true. You left your cynicism at the door when you went to see Derek play and you got back pure love instead. Music as a catalyst for joy and companionship. Music as a force for good. Bringing people together. For The Good Times. He was the antidote to an industry that strives to take itself too seriously – simple, straightforward, playing the music he loved, giving the people what they want to hear. I can’t wait to share these Sweet Memory Sounds on the Cowley Road, where Derek himself played for so many years.”
Venue: The Bullingdon, 162 Cowley Rd, Oxford OX4 1UE
Tickets: £8 earlybird / £10 advance / £12 door