French Sound System and recording label celebrated their 15th anniversary in Le Mans last Saturday, alongside Ditlef, Kiffaz, Jr Yellam and Chezidek
Those who came early were greeted by the soothing sound of Soul and groovy Funk music mixed by Ditlef. The french DJ set a chilled atmosphere spinning classics from Otis Redding to The Original Bong Band for about an hour.
Then One Drop Sound came to begin with the Reggae Dancehall mixing segment. We were invited to put on our “dancing shoes” and get on the dancefloor with a nice set of old school Reggae music including “Put On Your Dancing Shoes” by Johnny Clarke, “Rumours” by Gregory Isaacs, “Worries In The Dance” by Frankie Paul, “Real Rock Riddim” and more. They played dubs after dubs and gradually speeded up the pace with various Dancehall cuts by Johnny Osbourne, Burro Banton and Solo Banton to end up with a brand-new song by Devon Clarke.
One Drop Sound was good, but it wasn’t enough to warm up the spectators during a cold winter night. They weren’t ready yet for Puppa Chezi to come on stage. It took the charism and the skills of Jericho from Irie Ites Sound, who celebrated their 15th anniversary that night, to get the crowd moving. After paying tribute to legendary Reggae Singer John Holt and the Roots Radics’ drummer Lincoln “Style” Scott, who both recently passed away, with the song “Police In Helicopter”, Jericho played numerous old school flavored Reggae dubs by Barrington Levy, Sizzla, Luciano, Pinchers and classics like the “Answer Riddim” in the keeping with the vibe One Drop Sound settled earlier. The place got hotter as he started blasting cuts like “Sekkle And Cease” by Assassin aka Agent Sasco, “Nuh Badda Mi” and“Reggae Music”, by Perfect. Jericho took it to a higher level with some thrilling Dancehall/Hip Hop crossovers and hardcore Dancehall tracks such as “Shell” by Asassin, “Ninja Mi Ninja”, “Look Into My Eyes” by Bounty Killa. He even came off stage to hand the mic to the crowd in order to get them even more involved in the show.
Rapidly after wrapping up the third mix segment of the event, Kiffaz stepped on stage. During approximately one hour, the french Reggae artist seamlessly spitted wise lyrics to various types of riddims. From R’n’B Crossover Modern Reggae to Roots, including Old School Dancehall and Hip Hop, he demonstrated to be a very versatile performer and quite good at improvising. He definitely shook the crowd, especially at the end when he sung to classic Hip Hop beats such as “Me & My Girlfriend” — (also known as “Bonnie & Clyde”). All along, playing a “call and answer” game with the fans, Kiffaz succeeded in captivating the crowd’s attention until he passed the microphone to his fellow Jr Yellam who came to make us rock to some rub-a-dub vibe and mash up the dance. In Le Mans town, we did the “Rub a Dub” too! The french Reggae singer started with one of his latest single, which was released earlier this year on the “Diamond Riddim” produced by Irie Ites. He delivered a consistent performance full of energy. Whether it was Rub-a-Dub, Reggae Hip Hop, Roots or Lovers Rock, he smoothly rode on the beats performing songs like “Step by Step”, “Full Time Job”, “Summer Time Girlfriend”…
Next was the man we were all waiting for, Puppa Chezi. He blessed us with his graceful tenor voice and enlightening conscious lyrics. He started with the consciously-aware single“Damage” on the “Militancy Riddim”, followed by “Live & Learn” denouncing the corrupt system we are living in. Then, Chezidek exalted his faith in Jah with the upful “All My Life”. He continued on a joyful vibe with a vibrant Reggae cover of 1976 disco song “Sunny” made famous by Boney M. On a peaceful note, he went on with the lovely “Buss No Gun”. He was backed up by Jericho who was pushing the crowd to hail Puppa Chezi. Very laid-back, Chezidek continued performing really calmly. As he warmed up, he took off his jacket. The Reggae singer praised his love for the weed with a couple of songs like “Herbalist” and “Leave The Trees”. He quickly covered “Babylon Too Ruff” by Gregory Isaacs on the classic “Unchained Riddim”, after expressing his strong attachment to the Rastafarian culture with the song “Far I”. He carried on with some more conscious tracks, which aim to raise the awareness of the listeners, such as the hit song “Call Pon Dem”, “Bullet Clown”, “Inna Di Road”. By the end of the show, things started to get a little groovier when he performed the uptempo Reggae Hip Hop song “Talk To Jah Jah”, followed by the recently released single “Friday Night”. He finished this segment of the show with the highly expected “Bun Di Ganja” on the “Strange Things Riddim”.
The show didn’t end there. The openers who performed earlier were called back on stage to perform together on one of the latest Irie Ites production. Chezidek called out to Jehrico and asked him to press play in order to record a live dubplate. He did it in a Tenor Saw style going like “Dem a kill we but we kill dem faster. Dem come back inna disaster. Irie Ites a kick dem like a Kung Fu master.” After all the artists stepped off stage, Jericho continued the show with a heavy weight selection. From Roots to hardcore Dancehall, ending with Dubstep, he rocked the crowd once again until 3:30 am.
Each and every artist, who performed on Saturday night for their 15th anniversary, were not picked randomly. As Jericho said at the beginning of the show, it was a long-time friendship and having a good time. Despite the crowd lacking of responsiveness in the beginning, it was a great show overall. Jericho proved to be a very good entertainer and achieved to wake up the crowd with his sharp DJ skills and good selection alongside the dynamic openers before Chezidek appeared on stage.
Irie Ites is already planning their next birthday bash and prepare a lot of surprises for the french Reggae fans based in Le Mans. Stay tuned for more information.
Here are a couple of pictures I took at the show.
For those who didn’t attend the show, I made a little Youtube playlist which sums up Chezidek‘s performance. Share and comment.