Groundation + Rebelution + By The Rivers @ The Garage 5th November

This year my bonfire night was slightly different to the traditional one. Whilst everyone was out watching fireworks shows and giant flames engulfing poor old Guy Fawkes, I was stood in The Garage, Highbury, watching the best gig I've been to all year. From the moment I bought my ticket I knew that it was going to a brilliant night, and it 100% lived up to my expectation.
The first artist on stage were British Reggae band By The Rivers. I first came across this band whilst on a night out in Leeds. They were playing the Sunday Set at Hifi Nightclub and, it's safe to say, they were by far the best band I'd ever seen at Hifi. They had the whole crowd dancing from the moment they opened with their first song, and it didn't stop until they left the stage. So when I found out that they were playing in London supporting Groundation, it was a no brainer, I had to go. As I expected, they lived up to my expectations and put on an outstanding performance. Every song had the crowd dancing, jumping up and down and singing along. Formed in 2010, they continue to grow at a rate that sets them up to be a huge thing very soon. After smashing their performance on the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury 2013, they are expected to be one of a few new artists to grace the Pyramid Stage in the next 5 years. My advice: buy their album and buy tickets to their next gig near you. You won't be disappointed.

The next band on were Rebelution. Prior to buying tickets to this gig, I'd never really taken time to listen to these guys. I'd overheard people talking about them every now and then, but I had no idea what expect. Before the gig I took a little bit of time to listen to some tracks to see what I was going to experience that night, and was very impressed. Their live performance was even better. The bar was set high from By The Rivers' set previously, but these guys only raised it further. It was a flawless performance. Full of energy and soul, they had the audience wrapped around their finger. The most memorable moment for me was their song 'Feeling Alright' (most popular of their songs on Spotify, with over 5.5 million plays), which the majority of the audience sang along to, almost word for word. These guys were spectacular and the first thing I did when I got home was buy their latest album. I suggest you do the same.

Rebelution - Feeling Alright

The final act of the night was Groundation. There are no words to describe the atmosphere in the room, excitement doesn't even come close. Obviously the place was buzzing from the success of the previous two artists, but it was obvious before they even started that Groundation weren't going to disappoint. Only 6 of them came to the stage, as two members were denied entry to the UK for the gig. But this didn't hinder their performance in any way. Their performance was full of soul, impeccable grooves, and admirable lyrics. They engaged with the audience perfectly, using the atmosphere created by the acts that preceded them to enhance their performance. Finishing at 11pm, they rounded off what was the best gig I'd seen in 2014.

Groundation @ Afro-Pfingsten Festival 2013

By the end of the night I had completely forgotten about the traditional festivities of Bonfire Night which I religiously took part in year in year out. This gig had me dancing on the tube all the way home. All three of these bands surpassed my expectations, if any of them are playing a gig near you, I suggest you hurry up and buy a ticket. And if anyone tells you that modern Reggae isn't a thing, they're wrong. It's very much alive and is growing stronger by the day.


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