Live: Jaya The Cat @ The Lounge Bar
Beginning their UK tour that includes visits to Rebellion Festival and Boomtown Fair, current reggae heroes Jaya The Cat play the small town of Alton, Hampshire at the much loved and cosy Lounge Bar, small enough to make a great intimate gig but not so small that even a packed out crowd like tonight doesn’t feel cramped.
Opening the show is local band Green Side Down who played a very cool set mixing ska with funk to an already fairly full crowd. Certainly a band worth checking out if you get the chance, they deserve more recognition than they currently have. Not every show starts with a band with a great unique sound, better than your average small gig opener. Next up were skacore crust punkers Skub Zero, unfortunately the crowd has dispersed a great amount by their set time, but they retained a small but engaged crowd throughout their set of wicked songs led by singer Nate who rejects the stage for the entire set opting to perform inside the crowd.
Starting their set with fan favourite and MC Amalgam collaboration ‘Community’, third band on the bill, Reading’s Will Tun and The Wasters play an enjoyable set winning over the crowd. Playing perhaps not their usual set with a mix of brand new songs, a new ska version of MC Amalgam’s ‘Red Is Not Dead’ and ending with live favourite ‘Raggamuffin MC’. Always a fantastic live band, tonight’s short and fun set is sure to be a precursor for many great shows over summer, including a set at Boomtown Fair. Now playing to a packed venue, main support Tree House Fire warm up the crowd with their great reggae tunes from their recent album ‘Rocket!’ They get the skanking going ready for Jaya The Cat, proving to be the perfect band to get things going for the reggae giants, you can easily see these Guildford lads in the main spot in not too long.
After much anticipation, and a nearly full venue, the mighty Jaya The Cat finally take the stage for an hour’s headline set. Emitting pure cool, with strapless guitar (using a box to keep his leg up to rest the guitar while playing) sunglasses, and unbuttoned shirt, singer and frontman Geoff Lagadec takes the enthusiastic crowd through a set consisting of new songs from new album ‘The New International Sound of Hedonism’ as well as older fan favourites such as ‘Hello Hangover’ and ‘Thank You Reggae’ arguably getting the best reactions of the night.
What really makes this show great is the crowd, who the band feed off so brilliantly, the connection between the two entities is full of energy and passion. As soon as the band begin the room is full of good vibes, they win over the crowd by the end of the first song, and by the end of latest single, the amazing ‘Here Come The Drums’, played early in the set, everybody in the room is dancing and feeding off the great vibes coming from the stage.
The presence of Jaya The Cat is much bigger than the stage they are playing on, and it’s great they are still playing smaller shows like this. Having been playing live for over 10 years now it appears Jaya The Cat have mastered the stage and with their continued success since 2007’s ‘More Late Night Transmissions With…’ it seems Jaya The Cat are destined for bigger stages, a must see band for any reggae fan.