The Olympics are just starting and already the Jamaicans are partying. A series of London concerts in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence on August 6 features a roll call of the nation’s music greats. A lively crowd of compatriots and friends was thrilled to see reggae royalty in the shape of Damian Marley, with his fellow sons of Bob — Julian and Stephen.
Despite his nickname Junior Gong, in tribute to his father’s Tuff Gong moniker, Damian in particular has achieved the near impossible and stepped out from the long shadow of a legendary father. A multiple Grammy winner, he was last heard on the SuperHeavy supergroup album in partnership with Mick Jagger.
Bouncing high with floor-length dreadlocks thick enough to stuff a sofa, he brought a relentless energy to his late-starting set. Both toasting at speed and singing with soul, he offered pacey electronic dancehall on Hey Girl and deeper dub on Land of Promise, while there was a funkiness to his versatile band on a cover of his father’s song No More Trouble.
While dad is honoured with an exhibition across the way in the British Music Experience, his legacy is looking more than healthy.