Review: Lee ” Scratch” Perry at the Commodore

September 16, 2016
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Dressed like an orange-haired intergalactic trooper, Lee “Scratch” Perry lands in Vancouver for a night of dubbed out bliss.

Where do you think you’ll be when you’re 80 years old? If you’re Jamaican godfather of dub Lee “Scratch” Perry you probably celebrated your eighth decade on stage somewhere. On Thursday, the self-described “sexpert” and “supreme creator” came down to Vancouver from the studio spaceship (where he has claimed he resides) dressed as some kind of  intergalactic trooper — complete with galaxy illustrated pants paired with a lion face shirt, high-top shoes, a black Sargent Pepper style coat, and baseball cap covered in pins and other objects. The hair? Orange, of course. The microphone? Feathered, naturally. The performance? Memorable.

Perry is a legend with more than 60 albums to his name, and I have a couple of them on vinyl in my collection. Did he play any of the songs on those albums that Thursday night at the Commodore Ballroom? Hard to say, really. But the spirit of whatever words Perry wrote those many years ago was still there in his hazy (but blissful) performance.

Those audience members glued to the front of the stage got a special treat as Perry moved from one end to the other, all the while letting people touch his boots and shake his hand. All that pacing and mumbling into a feathered microphone will make even the most cosmic of deities thirsty. So Perry reached down ever-so-slowly to grab a glass of red wine that sat on top of the set list taped to the floor. The audience held its collective breath to see if he would pull the seemingly impossible feat of bending down. He did, and once he managed to bring himself back up to full standing position, he took a sip of his vino and smiled a wicked smile. “Ice, I need ice!” The crowd loved it.

Photos: Celeste Moure