Roots Manuva - The Arches, Glasgow Live Review

Roots Manuva live at The Arches in Glasgow on October 9th 2008.

Roots Manuva

It's truly an exciting evening for me as tonight I finally get to see Roots Manuva live as I've never seen them before and I couldn't think of a better place to watch the band than in Glasgow. There's no denying the main man Rodney Smith is a pioneer and has received acclaim and respect from many innovative music producers who have used Rodney's vocals on various tracks and the music industry also rewarded Roots Manuva as MOBO winner in 1998 with best new hip hop act. His back catalogue highlights how great British music can be due to the creative use of beats and unique vocal patter and the music is absolutely pushing hip hop forward. I knew Roots Manuva would sound good live due to the sound they create focusing on heavy bass beats and warped sounds. With Rodney's raga style vocals and conscious clever lyrics it's gonna make you move.

Getting down to the venue there was a buzz in the air and it was good to see a lot of local Scottish people rather than just students. I wasn't sure whether this crowd would vibe to the sound of Roots Manuva or whether it was more for curiosity. Most people can tell its good music but whether they're gonna 'shock out' is a different matter. I wasn't going to let it deter me. The band came on with an intro and people were looking attentively but straight away Rodney was acknowledging the crowd. He was clearly happy to be there. Its true there is something about Glasgow, if you're a music person, which you can't help but feel a connection no matter what style of music it is. The band gets straight into the latest single 'Again And Again' from the recent album Slime & Reason and that sets the reggae sunshine tone for the night and then we know it's gonna be a good vibe gig. As soon as 'Buff Nuff' comes on the whole place is getting down and there's smiles everywhere. There's so much love coming from the band that you truly feel this is a genuine upfront and personal gig. The crowd get swept away with the love and by the time 'Witness' comes on the whole place is going mental showing how much of a long player this tune is. The band got it completely right, involving the crowd, having a good time and getting the place bouncing! The songs genuinely sounded great live.

The band played a lot of tracks from the latest album 'Slime and Reason' and classics from the previous albums. Go check them out if you haven't heard them. I was amazed how good 'Dreamy Days' sounded, I forgot what a brilliant tune this is, a classic. Ricky Rankin displayed some great vocals and as the band jammed a little too we heard a lyric from the work on Nightmares on Wax new album 'Thought So'. All good. It' clear the band could of kept on going all night due to everyone having such a good night but the night had to come to end at some point and what a great track to end on 'Let The Spirit' which is such an uplifting track and soon to released.

I truly wasn't disappointed to see Roots Manuva. In fact you must see this band live! It was great to hear the tracks in the set showing how much this band have progressed on their own journey of musical exploration and easily educating the rest of us budding musicians. But more importantly Roots Manuva is all about one love positivity and great progressive music. You just can't deny that so if you wan to have a good time go see them and buy their latest album 'Slime and Reason' if you want to hear some real quality contemporary music. Respect!

Tareck Ghoneim

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