The British Libraries event ‘Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s freedoms and rights’ was closed by Roger Robinson and his four piece band comprising of Taylor – Double Bass (Mr Taylor), Drums – Cheryl Alleyne, Keys – Chris Jerome and the man himself Roger Robinson, taking charge of the microphone. At the end of an inspired evening filled with exceptional performances from high calibre artists including: Levellers and Eliza Carthy, Roger and his band continued along the same vein, took to the stage, then cranked it up two notches.
The ferocious, energetic intro launched from the start was fuelled with passion, charisma and edge. Poet Roger Robinson’s hip-hop, jazz infused music and modern day griot/narrative style are both unique forms alone which combined cannot be adequately described in writing. One would expect spoken word or poetry to be performed in its standard, ‘typical’ format however it would be advised to expected the unexpected from Mr Robinson who kicked off the set with an explosion of vocal artillery aimed with innate precision at the audience with the vigour of a rock star. Rock star chutzpah aside, Roger’s music is a successful example of the blending and melting of varied soulful genres topped with a rich lyrical icing. Roger’s vocal articulation enabled each audience member to get a feel of his own deep belief in his musical/poetic works of art. The uniqueness of his lilting ‘Trini’ dadian twang over each cleverly woven consecutive masterpiece added an element of intrigue, contrasting with the music and complimenting every pleasing sound.
The British Library audience’s reception confirmed that they were drawn from the beginning. It was hypnotic.
Impressively, each piece had a philosophical angle that subtly invited the listener to think deeply about the words being delivered. Furthermore, once ensconced; after endeavouring to explore any aspects of each work piece; be it through the beat, double bass, lyrics or chord structure – in fact every element, it was possible to discover new hidden textures in the mix while being offered a viewpoint. His hard-hitting words were relevant and poignant with bite, encompassing subjects including political, current affairs, and his own personal responses to today’s UK Youths’ plight with ‘Postcode Beef’.
Whatever your favourite element of Ths Shout’s music, on display was extreme aptitude from each musician; their contributions were powerful and they were unified as a band; the close-knit team exemplified connectivity through their art and you could witness their seriousness, working hard throughout the performance to deliver their messages through music. The contrasting urgency against the laid back and chilled out assuredness that any accomplished performer worth their salt has, was certainly demonstrated and a pleasure to witness.
The deeper meaning of the music makes Roger Robinson an artist ‘with purpose’ relaying important observations and offering insight on taboo subjects. His skills of performing, connecting and mastering the craft of performing over the exceptional pieces of music together with The Shout with such intensity, are exemplary.
Any performer with the ability to keep a crowd going after a long night of entertainment such as this is one not to take lightly. Roger Robinson and The Shout closed the event leaving the audience on a conscious high.
Roger Robinson – words
Cheryl Alleyne – Drums
Chris Jerome – Keys
Taylor – Double Bass
Cool Out! (Taylormade)
I am (Taylormade/Louis Gines)
Prayers for Angry young Men – Taylormade
Jazz is Dead (Jerome/Taylormade/Daniel Crosby)
Killing Suite for Stephen Lawrence (Jerome/Alleyne/Taylormade)
Unsticking (Julie Dexter Arr Taylormade)
Reviewed by Danelle Harvey