At Bush Hall, Eddy Grant has the audience in the palm of his hand. It has been 22 years since he last toured Britain, and word has been slow to get around: this intimate venue could be fuller. But those who are here know the importance of this Guyana-born, London-raised singer, who was the first black British owner of his studio and songs, and who brought a cutting social edge to slick global reggae hits. This electrifying night feels like living history.
With two drummers and a female singing trio in attendance, the stiffness on some of Grant's records is stretched into danceable, limber new shapes. Grant's first solo hit, "Hello Africa", proves irresistible. For "I Don't Wanna Dance", everybody does, and sings themselves hoarse, too. "Electric Avenue", with its sadly timeless call for change in a violent, socially divided London, is just a prelude to "Gimme Hope Jo'anna". One note of this anti-Apartheid song disguised as a ballad is all the cue the crowd need to lose themselves completely.Reuse content