Review: Chronixx at Somerset House
With the summer rain threatening from behind gloomy clouds, a busy congregation of rastas and other appreciators assembled in the regal open air courtyard of one of London’s most prestigious outdoor venues – Somerset House with red, gold and green everywhere you turned.
Bright lights cut through the steam and smoke of jerk chicken and plantain, which mixed with ganja smoke to transform the 240 year old courtyard into the perfect setting for Chronixx.
This may be the best live music event I have been to, full stop. Chronixx’ music is revolutionary and speaks not only of the strong culture and history of Jamaica, but to a people united all over the world. With tracks like ‘Smile Jamaica’, a love song to the island and ‘Here come trouble’, a call to unite Rastafarians worldwide, as artists go, Chronixx is the genuine article.
For those who associate reggae with a lower energy, slow tempo art form, Chronixx is an attention grabbing performer who captivated the audience and created an atmosphere that was insulated from the outside world, or even the present day. This felt like an evolution of reggae’s golden era, delivered by a new star. Backed up by his band, Zincfence Redemption who were about as musically tight as it is possible to be (and live up to their solid name), he made crowd chants and participation seem like they were ad-libbed on the spot and had the audience gripped with a completely new type of stage presence; belonging, powerful, funny and cheeky at the same time.
From about 30 seconds in, you had the recurring feeling that this was a performance that you were very lucky to be a part of, from an artist who may well be ‘one of the greats’ on his way up. Having personally not seen too much live reggae before, it was great to experience a live performance with a characteristic all of its own. It was like watching someone master a craft in a way you didn’t realise possible, a proper game changer, like a Fosbury Flop of live music.
Politically motivated and positively charged, this is music with purpose. Songs that promote a Rastafarian diet and lifestyle, the nations of Africa, the Rasta youths, and truth seeking had the entire crowd singing along (and are also getting millions of views on YouTube). In fact, the closest you get to a product placement is ‘Spirulina’ which, aside from being an absolute tune, is about the virtues and benefits of good, clean, vegetarian food (if I’ve missed the point entirely, apologies, my patois is pretty abysmal)
Bearing in mind that Chronixx is only 22 years old, it is safe to assume that we are looking at a permanent fixture in the genre for years to come. He sounds like a household name already, and with multiple anthems already in the back catalogue, he carries the potential to grow as the next worldwide name in reggae, drawing in those who may not regularly have listened to the genre.
This is something we should all be happy about, because at a time when much of the commercial music on offer walks an over-trodden path with a largely aesthetic, commercially viable message, Chronixx is a loud mouthpiece professing deeper aspirations of unity, defiance of inequality, love and reggae-music. And if that sounds dramatic, well, you had to be there.
Keep up to date with Chronixx on the links below