Adrian Sherwood and the return of Creation Rebel: Berlin Special Edition Review

Adrian Sherwood

They last worked and played together all the way back in 1978-1982 on Sherwood’s On-U Sound record label, so this was always going to be a very special night where legends of the dub-reggae scene rejoined.

The cavernous space of Club Gretchen grew with expectation as it slowly filled with dub and reggae music fans. Some men in their 50’s and 60’s stood unmoving, leaning on pillars, or sitting hunched on the stage, eyes shut as if meditating on the old days. Middle-aged couples, Rasta men and arm-swinging groovers populated the little dance-floor where the vivacious warm-up DJ pumped the air with deep dub.

At the handover to the next DJ, the track got stuck on an unnerving alarm-like loop for several minutes, the crowd wavering, waiting for the beat to drop back in.

When Sherwood appeared, the room awoke and turned with anticipation to the stage.

When Sherwood appeared, the room awoke and turned with anticipation to the stage. In a black polo t-shirt and thick-rimmed glasses, Sherwood pulled out a drumstick, thumbed the controls and turned up the dub.

‘I was 60 a month ago. It’s mad. But things are going well, I’m happy.’ After a couple of tracks, Creation Rebel filled the stage.

‘I haven’t played with these guys since 1982’, said Sherwood with excitement.

‘I haven’t played with these guys since 1982’, said Sherwood with excitement. On guitar, drums, bass, triple keyboard and percussion; they lovingly meandered into their trippy, funky sound with Sherwood on the controls, playing singles with wonderfully evocative names like ‘Starship Africa’ and ‘Jungle Affair’ from their ‘78 album ‘Dub Creation’, and their new 2015 record ‘Rebel Vibrations’.

guys that had played a lot of gigs in a lot of venues, and were now back, albeit in a different, future time

They played with the languorous air of guys that had played a lot of gigs in a lot of venues, and were now back, albeit in a different, future time.

But some things stay the same: ‘I remember when I was last here 37 years ago’ said the frontman Tony Phillips, ‘it was cold, really cold.’ ‘Like today!’ Someone yelled garrulously from the crowd before Phillips replied in reflection: ‘But like last time, you guys are making it really warm in here.’

Sherwood played solo for the final hour as he moved between live multitrack mixing and spinning tracks off his recently produced Lee Perry album, an artist whom he has also worked with since the 80’s.

a true one-off Berlin edition

This was a gig appreciated by a loving crowd and a true one-off Berlin edition of a legend in music production and the return of one of the true greats of dub reggae.

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