Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Robert Barrett

1964 was a big year in history the first pirate station went live the civil rights act came into play making a big impact on music and what musicians could record and Toots and The Maytals burst onto the music scene a as pioneers of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae music with debut hit ‘Never Get Weary’.

Toots & the Maytals

With over 50 years experience in the music business and an impressive 31 number one hit singles in their hometown of Jamaica it was time for the UK to experiences the legends live. Birmingham Institute played host to Toots and his band as the diverse crowd filtered through the audience from teens to adults to elderly, the venue floor filled up with people happily dancing smiling and rejoicing in the music that they heard.

Captain Accident and the Disasters

Cardiff’s Captain Accident had the audience bopping along with the Ska and Reggae mix wowing the incoming crowd in particular a group of teens singing along on the front row, word for word, happily enjoying themselves to the beat. The audience watched in amazement as they warmed up the crowd with the funky beats coming from the stage with green and red lighting set the atmosphere perfectly, interacting with the crowd, their lead singer told of how excited he was to be performing alongside Toots and given the opportunity to accompany such a legend.

Captain Accident and the Disasters

With the crowd fully warmed up it was time at the main attraction to grace the stage. Appearing a little later than expected Toots appeared dressed in a black leather ensemble with shocking red trainers to accompany his elbow pads and looking as cool as ever in black shades, the crowd cheered as the band started up.

Funky sounds had the crowd on their feet from the off, with a talented and extremely tight band taking the helm initial sound issues from the stage where diverted as backing singers Lisa and Latoya took the lead, the soulful melodies coming through their microphones carried on as Toots overcame the issues and came back into the show quickly treating his fans to a non stop extravaganza of tracks that made them a household name. Tracks like ‘Reggae Got Soul’ and ‘Never Get Weary’ boomed the infectious beat, you couldn’t help but to get on your feet as the charismatic singer told his loyal followers little ditties and stories, wishing Jimmy in the audience a “Happy Birthday” and taking the lead on the guitar as the night progressed.

Toots & the Maytals

Toots & the Maytals

Promoting latest offering ‘A Song Called Marley‘ Toots exclaimed Bob Marley was his and your friend and the song was in dedication to him before upping the beat with ‘Louie Louie’ the audience went wild as he teased he knew what they wanted but would have to wait a little longer to hear it.

The evening drew to a close and with so many hits they could of gone way past curfew, a singalong erupted of  ‘Take Me Home Country Roads’ leaving the audience cheering and shouting for more. As the encore followed, the audience went wild as the band struck up and the opening chords of ‘Monkey Man’, with everyone on their feet from the floor to the balcony, the whole venue was rocking with even a guy sneaking onto the balcony edge to dance to show his appreciation for the band he loved. As the evening went on Toots’ vocals got stronger and showed why he is such an influence to the Reggae and Ska scene, Latoya and Lisa were on fire, there was no need for an extravagant backdrop as the songs did all the audience needed.

Toots & the Maytals

Toots & the Maytals

Toots and The Maytals have further UK dates over the next two weeks, playing Manchester on the 19th and a new album out very soon, if you want a stomping night from start to finish, see them live… you won’t be disappointed.

Toots & the Maytals

Toots & the Maytals

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