Live Reviews

Bedouin Soundclash

Mean Fiddler

Having formed a few years ago in their native Canada, it was only last year that Bedouin Soundclash made themselves known on this side of the pond, providing the soundtrack to last summer with the excellent reggae-rock stylings of the Sounding A Mosaic album. Following a successful support slot with the Ordinary Boys back in October, they’ve returned to London for the last night of a sold-out headline tour, and the level of anticipation is almost tangible.

Credit to the band for bringing along a genuine reggae legend as support; Vernon Maytone, formerly of 70s reggae duo the Maytones, whose song Money Worries was covered by the Soundclash on Sounding A Mosaic. So who better than the boys themselves to play as his backing band? Ever the charismatic performer, Vernon leads them through renditions of classics such as Hurry Up and Mr. Postman, clearly winning a few new fans in the process.

Half an hour later, Bedouin Soundclash return to play their own material; and great songs they are, too, with the Mean Fiddler’s unusually excellent sound accentuating the band’s highly danceable rhythms. A shame, then, that the majority of the crowd remain statuesque throughout the set, although the late airing of previous single When The Night Feels My Songhelps to get people moving. The set is culled mainly from Sounding A Mosaic, but also features a couple of promising new tracks, as well as a few choice covers (most notably, a welcome snippet of The Clash’s Guns Of Brixtonand U2’s New Year’s Day)

The real treat, however, is saved for the encore, when Vernon Maytone returns to help out with vocals on the aforementioned Money Worries; complete with loud crowd participation and a funky, improvised coda. It’s a great finale to a superb performance, from one of Canada’s most promising new bands. If you missed out this time, then watch out for future tour dates – because on this form, Bedouin Soundclash won’t be playing intimate venues for much longer, especially when the new album drops this year featuring guests such as Money Mark.

Alex Gosman