From England, the first band to touch the stage are the iconic Aswad. Introduced by Rory Stone Love, the host of the whole Festival, as “Reggae Royalty” the Lions of Ladbroke Grow with original members Tony Gad and Drummie Zeb truly honoured the stage with a very solid performance. Opened by It’s Just A Little Herb, their show showcased all the hits that made this band so popular in England and all over the world, from Drum And Bass Line to Roots Rocking to an amazing Love Fire, with Zeb back in his original drummer position and the bass of Tony Gad shaking the crowd. Don’t Turn Around and Shine closed their concert on a high note.
After Aswad it was time for a promising Spanish reggae band, Green Valley. This band has been playing since more than ten years and their popularity is growing more and more as it was clear by the people singing loudly their tunes. Their latest production, Hijos De La Tierra is a good mix of roots reggae and Spanish vibes that reaches its peak in songs like Si No Te Tengo and No Vengas Al Barrio. Their biggest tune of the show was Los Suenos.
Still in Europe for the third act of the night, the Italians Mellow Mood. Captained by the twins Jacob and L.O., this band’s strength and popularity is growing incredibly fast since their first appearance at Rototom in 2009 and are definitely one the crowd’s favourites. Starting from Criminal to Memba December to the two versions of Inna Jamaica (which saw the live featuring of Fore Lock, a very talented Italian singer from the Arawak band) every tune they played was sung and enjoyed loudly by the Rototom people, and the Italians were the one who managed better than anyone else at this year’s edition to capture the crowd for the whole time they were on stage. A custom version for Rototom of Innocent, Dig Dig Dig and Dance Inna Babylon were the highlights of a concert that ended with Don’t Leave I Lonely, accompanied by a sea of lighters.
To properly close this day 7 here in Benicassim some Jamaican vibes were needed and the ones entitled to bring them on the big stage were Macka B and Lee “Scratch” Perry.
Born in England by Jamaicans parents, Macka B has been and still is one of the most influential dj of the British reggae scene and his live performances are always impressive and in his 40 minutes show at Rototom he definitely lived up to his name. Roots Ragga and Step Up were the perfect introduction for a show that went very quickly on the theme of Marijuana, one of Macka’s favourites. “Some people have coffee break, some other tea break, me? I have ganja breakes!” introduced Ganja on the Chase The Devil Riddim, followed immediately by Natural Herb and Ganja Ladies, this one with the classic speech “everybody talk about ganja man, but a ganja man needs a ganja woman to have ganja babies! We need to have respect for ladies, they love ganja too!”. Medical Marijuana came next with a long introduction both in English and Spanish that made the audience laugh quite a lot and Never Played a 45 (with Macka holding proudly a 7inch 45 in his hand for the whole song) closed his amazing performance.
Macka left the stage, the band kept playing and a legend entered, Mr. Lee Perry. Dressed in his usual bizarre (to be gentle) way with his red beard and hair and his cap full of mirrors and images of Selassie and Africa, Lee “Scratch” Perry is always joy to witness live. A few Marley’s tune got played alongside his hits, old and newer, but writing about a Lee Perry show it’s not about which tunes were played but about the show he can put on by simply being himself. The songs came out of his mouth in a constant flow as if he was simply speaking with the massive crowd in front of him and looking at him it’s impossible not to think that it would be amazing to be in his mind just for a moment to see what’s happening, to understand his joyful madness and where this is bringing him.
The night was full of vibes on the other stages. Stone Love brought Cutty Ranks in the dancehall area, where an unexpected combination between him and the dub sound Iration Steppaz happened before the Immortal sound mashed up the place with its exclusive dubplates (an amazing Bitty Mclean selection was played in the early vibes).
The Dub Academy on the other hand saw Bush Chemists and Culture Freeman working greatly with the heavy bassline of the Blackboard Jungle Sound.