Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley gave a seamless performance at London’s Somerset house last night as anticipation runs high for his long awaited, and perpetually postponed, fourth album ‘Stony Hill’, finally set to drop on his 39th birthday 21 July 2017.
There was palpable excitement in the air as the intro to the booming battle-anthem ‘Confrontation’ reverberated throughout the stadium-sized crowd, at Somerset House last night, hailing the arrival of reggae’s golden child, Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley.
At the moment he emerged on stage a sea of iPhones and spliffs were swiftly pulled into action as the American Express sponsored venue suddenly transformed into a Jamaican dancehall complete with, despite strict bag searches and security checks, the lingering smell of marijuana peppering Marley’s modern reggae beats.
Damian was relaxed and spritely as he skipped across the stage swinging his cascading floor-long dreadlocks while he seamlessly delivered song after song with the aid of his Rastafarian flag wielding comrade and two brilliant backing vocalists. Bangled ladies strutted from side to side to ‘Hey Girl’, and the audience responded well to ‘More Justice’ as Damian urged ‘When I say extra, you say?’
As the sun set, leaving the venue illuminated by the glowingly grand windows of Somerset House, Damian effortlessly commanded the night with his undeniable stage presence and well-rehearsed performance proving that this is the kind of environment that allows him to thrive.
The crowd rejoiced when he dropped some of his father Bob’s few well-loved tracks including ‘Exodus’ and ‘Is this Love?’, but as he urged Londoners to ‘look after yourself, look after eachother’ before finishing his set with ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ it was clear it was Damian who they had really come to see.