London, Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre, UK,
November 4th, 1989
Jah Wobble - Bass / Vocals etc
Justin Adams - Guitar
Line-up unknown in full...
Unknown in full...
Unknown if an audio bootleg was recorded
review by Ralph
Heibutzki, January 2007
© Fodderstompf.com / Ralph Heibutzki
I always felt a special kinship
to Wobble; listening to the likes of him, Paul Simonon (Clash), and Peter
Hook (New Order, Joy Division) made me want to strap on a bass... hung
low, naturally, in that cool British style (preferably, south of your
waist! I also play guitar nowadays, but that's another story).
Being a dedicated Anglophile, I couldn't wait to go to London, and absorb its culture for myself; FIRST EDITION and METAL BOX had been an essential part of my high school soundtrack (as well as JAH WOBBLE IN BETRAYAL, and too many other albums from that era to mention!).
I'd been playing nearly a year when I hit the UK on October 28, 1989, for a six-month stay. Once I'd finally shaken the jet lag-induced cobwebs, I caught this gig (which wasn't listed here), on the next Saturday (November 4).
The TIME OUT listing made the trip seem pretty easy: "tube stop, Gunnersbury Park Road," I told myself. "SW-something-or-other, doesn't look too bad.."
Well, the tube ride took close to an hour; by the time I popped out, I found myself staring into an inky blackness, and a main road that seemingly stretched on forever ... welcome to London!
Eventually, after I'd been hoofing it for several blocks, I made out two guys walking together; "they've gotta be going to the same gig," I told myself... and ran to catch up with them.
Once I did, it turned out they were friends of Wobble's; better yet, they were on the guest list, which meant I didn't have to pay!
Imagine my surprise to see my bass-playing hero working his low-ender magic in a a Brit-style YMCA! (Trivia buffs, take note: Joe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War also graced these premises on July 9, 1988, as part of their own "Rock Against The Rich" tour.)
As I recall, the set focused on the WITHOUT JUDGMENT album, the dizzying blend of improv dub, reggae, Arabic and African music flown under the Invaders of the Heart banner. Wobble was just re-emerging from his twilight period (taking tickets on the London Underground!), but you wouldn't have known it, from the subterranean groove he was laying down, buttressed by the equally fluid guitar of Justin Adams (now with Robert Plant).
The best part came last, however, when Wobble's friends hung around to chat; naturally, I tagged along, and we talked the usual guitarspeak...what basses do you use, amps, that sort of thing.
Wobble also asked me where "Mitchi-gan" was, and I used my palm to show him my hometown's location; he seemed bemused to hear of someone traveling a couple thousand-odd miles, to see him...and pay tribute!
Of course, I asked for the man's signature, which he duly affixed to my ticket stub, and copy of WITHOUT JUDGEMENT (which I bought at the show, if memory serves me correctly).
Pointing to the album he'd just signed in ballpoint pen, "To Ralph, Love, Jah Wobble, XXXXX," Wobble laughed: "Now, listen, mate, when I wrote, 'Love, Jah Wobble,' it doesn't mean that I fancy you, all right?"
"Don't worry," I laughed, "I get it, I get it."
Ah, those eccentrics... I told myself. I just managed to catch the last train, so I didn't stumble home till 1:30-2 a.m... but I didn't really care. I'd soaked up a taste of Wobble, and his London stomping grounds, in the same night.
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