Review: Jimmy Cliff in London

May 29, 2012

Taking the spotlight for his encore, singer, actor and rock’n’roll hall of famer Jimmy Cliff, OM, presaged the signature song to The Harder They Come movie by mimicking the scene where he gruesomely slashes the face of the preacher’s henchman. It was a violent coda to a steadily uplifting show at Greenwich’s venue-within-a-venue Indigo2 (rap stars Jay Z and Kanye West  were in the main o2 arena) but the audience, euphoric from seeing the legend return – didn’t mind.

At the diametrically opposite end of London from where he lived in the 1960s, Jimmy was back to promote his forthcoming album Rebirth produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, with whom he cut last year’s well received Sacred Fire taster EP. Joined by some of the project’s musicians (Scott Abels, drums, Dan Boer, keyboards) he sounded a little rusty when opening with You Can Get It If You Really Want. However, he and the band soon eased into a vibe with the dancehall niceness of 1982’s Rub A Dub partner – keeping an upward trajectory from there on in.

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