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Issue 1082

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Protoje & The Indiggnation + Sevanna: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17

Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com
Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Sevanna: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Sevanna: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Sevanna: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Sevanna: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Protoje: Shepherds Bush Empire, London 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com

There's a lot of great music coming from Jamaica at the moment, and we in the UK are lucky that we're one of the first points of call for the country's finest artists.

Reggae shows in London are always well-attended affairs, and it was little surprise that when Protoje stepped onstage he was faced with a full crowd at Shepherds Bush Empire.

Before he appeared the crowd had been treated to a short but sweet set from support act Sevanna.

Blessed with an incredibly soulful voice, she had the audience in the palm of her hand. She's definitely one to watch in the future.

It's always intriguing to see how well records translate to the stage, and with an impressive catalogue of records to his name, expectations were high for Protoje.

He's been around for a surprisingly long time, having released his first mixtape way back in 2005.

From the first bars of "Resist No Evil", it was obvious that Protoje is the real deal. He's done a few shows in the capital in recent years, but this was the first time I'd seen him live.

Flanked by his band, The Indiggnation, he was assured and lively. His music combines dancehall with roots reggae in a refreshing blend, and his "Ancient Future" album was on rotation in the days before the show.

"Protection" was one of the opening tracks on his set from that album, swiftly followed by "Criminal".

The 35-year-old is comfortable in front of a crowd and had the audience dancing from the off.

Highlights from the show included "Bubblin'" and "Sudden Flight", and he was happy to hand the limelight briefly to his protégé Lila Iké, who impressed with her track "Biggest Fan".

"Answer To Your Name" and "Rasta Love" followed when Protoje took centre stage again, the latter having been a huge hit alongside Ky-Mani Marley.

A well-delivered version of "Blood Money" gave Protoje a chance to show off his skills on the mic.

It wasn't surprising that his most recognisable hits were saved until the end - the Chronixx collaboration "Who Knows" and Ini Kamoze-inspired "Kingston Be Wise".

Both are feel-good anthems and finished the night on a joyful high.

The Shepherds Bush show was the last night of the UK tour, and reggae fans will be hoping they won't have to wait long for Protoje and The Indiggnation's next appearance on these shores.

PHOTO: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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