Kabaka Pyramid – Can’t Breathe


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With under a week to go until we open the gates to this year’s Boomtown, I figured I should do another round up of new videos from some of the artists performing, just so you’re all able to sing along when you get here.

First up is Lutan Fyah with ‘Perfect Storm’. One of the finest Reggae artists around today, his Lion’s Den set is set to be energising.

My old crew Astroid Boys have just announced a new album coming soon, this is their new single ‘Dirt’ and they will be live on the Chinatown Courtyard this year.

Agents Sasco aka Assassin has not only been prolific with his guest appearances, popping up on everyone from Kanye West to Kendrick Lamar’s albums, but he also has an infinite amount of big tunes of his own, this is his latest, ‘Winning Right Now’ and you can catch him on the Lion’s Den this year.

AJ Tracey is on a rapid ascent at the moment and rightly so, he’s easily one of my favourites from the current Grime vanguard. His new single ‘Blacked Out’ is from his forthcoming EP ‘Secure The Bag’ out in October. He’ll be on Poco Loco this year.

This is something different from Protoje and it took me couple of plays when I first heard it, but it’s a powerful tune and I’m looking forwards to seeing him play it live on the Lion’s Den this year.

This is ‘Gunjack’ taken from Noble Jacks’ debut album ‘What The Hammer’, it’s a pleasure to have these boys at the festival for the first time, I’m sure they’ll fit right in at the Old Mines stage.

Another festival debut, this time it’s The Downsetters. a great Ska band who will be over on Chinatown Courtyard. This is their latest single which tells a similar story to The Specials’ Ghosttown, it’s called ‘Downtown’. In case you didn’t know The Specials are also playing this year too!

Not only has the Lion’s Den got a massive Jamaican line up this year, but there’s also Jamaican bands in both Hidden Woods and up at The Windmill in Whistler’s Green. That’s where you can catch Jesse Royal on Sunday. This is his latest lyric video for ‘Always Be Around’.

Also up on The Windmill is Portico Quartet (yes I got the name right, they’re back!), who will be doing one of their first shows in years, followed by a brand new album Art in the Age of Automation’later in the month. This is taken from that and it’s called ‘Endless’.

The way Donae’o has reinvented himself for the current generation is refreshing, in fact I’m tempted to say it’s his strongest era yet (cue irate UK Funky fans). He’ll be down at Poco Loco this year and this is ‘Whole Life’ with Fredo.

Although we don’t have Roots By Nature this year, we do have Addis Pablo and Ras Jammy aka Suns Of Dub flying over from Jamaica to do an epic set on the Lion’s Den. This is ‘Teach The Youths About Garvey’.

Time to chill it out a little more and this is the latest from Bristol Folk group Circe’s Diner who are back at the Floating Lotus again this year.

If that’s your flavour then you should definitely appreciate ‘Polly Vaughn’ from Furrow Collective, I love their dark and rather twisted take on English Folk music and I think it will go down well on the Old Mines stage.

Back to the Reggae and Nattali Rize is definitely a must see. She’s one of Australia’s biggest Reggae artists and her most album ‘Rebel Frequency’ is one of the stand out releases for this year. This is the title track, and you can hear her play it live in the Hidden Woods.

Before we get too comfortable, here’s Faintest Ideas who will be bringing their rowdy Ska Punk to Devil Kicks Dancehall. This is ‘No Consequences’.

Although we don’t have Whiney with us, you’d be hard pushed not to see Inja at some point over the weekend. He’ll be doing a solo show on Poco Loco, but also guesting across numerous sets across site.

Not long now!!

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Although I can’t complain about having to watch bands all day and night at Boomtown, it does mean I miss so much of the other great stuff happening around the site. One of the most exciting non musical offerings this year is the line up for our talks tent ‘Speaker’s Corner’ up in Whistler’s Green.

There’s a whole host of inspiring talks and discussions on subjects that range from hunt saboteurs and fracking resistance to understanding economics, or more to the point, knowing when you’re getting screwed.

It’s well worth having a look at the whole programme when you get to site, I would literally go and see every single one if I was able to but here’s a handful of choice talks and their official descriptions to give you a better idea of what’s on offer.

Dan Glass – Rave as Rebellion, how we can party our way towards a better world

Some people think campaigning on issues like climate change, LGBTQI rights and anti fascism is all hard earnest work, but it doesn’t have to be. Partying can be a force for change, festivals can be the breeding ground for plans and action to a fairer world. With over a decade of wild antics that have blurred the boundaries between activism and art Dan brings the party into politics.

Kerry-Anne Mendoza – How do we build a world that works for everyone?

Founder of The Canary news group examines her passions of politics, economics and current affairs, with the basic question: “How do we build a world that works for everyone?”

Growing up in a working class suburb of Bristol, UK, Kerry-Anne had no idea of the groundbreaking work her West Indian grandfather had done for racial integration in the city. Finding out the full story at his funeral, when she was 18, she could suddenly make sense of the pull she felt to tell the stories that raise and tackle the world’s inequalities. Kerry-Anne will tell her story, from a first visit to Palestine in 2002, through a career in the banking industry, before breaking out into the Occupy movement and never looking back.

Hassan Akkad – A Syrian Refugee’s Journey

Hassaan tells the story of his long and harrowing journey from war-torn Syria to the UK, how he went from nearly drowning in the sea crossing from Turkey to featuring in the acclaimed BBC documentary “Exodus”. He talks about the continuing crisis from a personal perspective and about the role organisations such as Help Refugees played in helping him and many others along the way.

Help Refugees – We do things differently

From 3 friends and a # tag to the largest supporter of grassroots aid in Europe in under 2 years. Find out who Help Refugees are and the you can get involved. Remember, you don’t need permission to make a difference!

Jess Thom (Tourettes Hero) – Bring On The Biscuits

Writer, artist and part-time superhero Jess Thom is ‘changing the world one tic at a time’. Jess will talk about Tourettes Syndrome, the often-misunderstood neurological condition that makes her say ‘biscuit’ up to 16,000 times a day.

Through her organisation Touretteshero, Jess has recast her tics as her power not her problem. Expect biscuits, laughter and surreal tics as she discusses how humour can catalyse change.

Ren Aldridge (Petrol Girls) – Touch Me Again And I Will Fucking Kill You

Focussing on the main points of her essay ‘Touch Me Again And I Will Fucking Kill You: Cultural Resistance to Gendered (/ sexual) Violence in the Punk Rock Community’ published recently in Nasty Women, Ren will discuss some of the ways sexual violence operates in the scene and the ways people are fighting back, including the Petrol Girls’ work with TMAAIWFKY.

Rowan Sawday (Dizraeli) – The Unmaster (A Guide to Falling Apart)

Some talking, some lyrics and some actual conversation about having a breakdown while the world has a breakdown; because men don’t talk about this sort of shit enough.

Dr Simon Rushton – Threats to the nomadic way of life

In August 2015 the government brought in a policy that limits the rights of Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers who are too sick or old to travel. This is just one of many little known tactics that have been deployed by the government to make a nomadic lifestyle increasingly impossible. This talk will raise awareness about the current threats to the travelling way of life and how this could affect the travelling community.

There’s also 2 panel discussions from Momentum, the grassroots campaigning network, which evolved out of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 Labour leadership bid. They will be bringing together experts, campaigners and activists to speak on ‘A peaceful UK foreign policy’ and ‘Welfare for a Creative Society’.

Props have to go out to Jody and my life partner in crime Kate for pulling this incredible selection of people together. If you know anyone heading to Boomtown who might be interested in any of these (or the whole host of other subjects on offer) then make sure you let them now.

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Chinese Man – Shikantaza

Dude at 4:00 is my favourite.

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Rise Of The Pyramid

I’ve made no secret of the fact that my favourite artist from Jamaica’s ‘Reggae Revival’ has been Kabaka Pyramid and his was also my favourite show at last year’s Boomtown. He has a fire and presence that is sadly lacking in many younger artists across various genres, his lyrics are sharp and incredibly relevant for the problems of today and whether Hip-hop or Reggae (or both) he has some seriously solid tunes to back up his other talents.

With that in mind my amigos at Diplomats Of Sound have put together a UK tour ahead of his forthcoming debut album ‘Contraband’ – the shows start this Sunday in Bristol but here’s a poster with all the dates.

Kabaka has also just dropped the first single from the album called ‘Can’t Breathe’, which he explains is about ‘the stress and strain of the system and the mental pollution we are fed day to day (which) reminds me of feeling claustrophobic and suffocated’. I’m sure many people can relate so it’s criminal that more exposure isn’t given to this modern day Peter Tosh right now.

For anyone not already familiar with his music, here’s a few more of my personal favourites.

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Youthstar feat. Chill Bump & Illaman – Boogie Men

Some banging UK Hip-hop all the way from France as Chinese Man Records unleash their favourite rapper Youthstar, a Londoner now in Bordeaux – alongside fellow displaced Brit – Miscellaneous, the rapping half of Chill Bump who is now based in Tours. There’s also the Problem Child himself, Illaman who has been doing a few shows with Chinese Man these past couple of years and is originally from Toulouse (okay that last bit isn’t true).

Youthstar’s ‘SA.MOD’ EP is out now! Grab a copy here.

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Red Fox – Brooklyn Swing

Red Fox was a favourite of mine in the 90s when he was part of Ruff Entry alongside the likes of Shaggy, Rayvon and Screechy Dan, so it’s great to see he’s still on top form with this classic Dancehall vibe, a much tougher take on the Darker Shade riddim from his old crew Sting International. See how many people you can recognise in the video also!

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