Mykal Rose: District, Liverpool

By Shaun Ponsonby
Mon 19 February, 2018

The former Black Uhuru star performs the most iconic music in his back catalogue, and Graham Smillie was there for the positive vibrations. 

Positive Vibration have been responsible for bringing many of the greatest reggae giants to Liverpool, and tonight’s offering was no different.

Mykal Rose was the voice of Black Uhuru during the group’s pinnacle, and penned many of their most popular titles. He still records solo material and has been known to occasionally perform with a reformed Black Uhuru.

Tonight’s set is dedicated to the work he did with his former band. Introduced to the stage by legendary Liverpool poet Levi Tafari, Rose performed for just over an hour, and the hits come thick and fast, a trip down memory lane; Sponji Reggae, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and What is Life.

Now 61, Rose shows little sign of aging and skanks around the stage cajoling the audience into singing, dancing and hand waving. His charisma is a sight to behold, as he coaxes responses to his skat calls, involving everybody in the show. In a lot of ways, this epitomises what reggae is all about; that communal feeling.

His voice matches his charisma. He sounds simply superb. Never missing a note, he soars with a perfect synergy between soul and attitude. The band behind him, Mafia and Floxy, are wonderful, setting the scene with a reggae take on the jazz standard Take Five and keeping the pace up all night.

Solidarity, General Penitentiary and I Love King Selassie are stand out tracks, but the vitriolic anti-abortion rant Abortion, leaves a sour taste in the mouths of many in the crowd, this writer included.

Thankfully, he provided a storming finish, with a powering take on Stalk of Sensimilla and a new tune Zum Zum sending the crowd home ecstatic.

There may have been a slight blip in the proceedings, but it was yet more great work by the Positive Vibration team in bringing this show to town, there’s so much more to come this year.

Pictures by Brian Sayle