Saturday February 21th 2004... Arnhem's Willemeen was again the venue to host another Reggae Roadblock organized by Fatal Sound featuring two bands from the city itself, but before the live action would take off Fatal's DJ Activator spun a fine selection. The opening band was the lately grouped Natural Selection, who started playing an instrumental very much in the same vein as Aswad's early works, and despite having only one real singer, they would stick for most of their performance, that continued with the songs "Natural Selection", followed by "Dancehall, Dance Haffi Cork" and "Dreaded Than Dread" close to that sound. They did a tribute to Surinam and its people, and kept the pace with "Mash It Up", "All A Wi" and "Jah Is The King Of Kings" over what sounded like a classic Aswad riddim.

Next up DJ Activator left the turntables to guest DJ Stoffel - who once ruled the east of the Netherlands as a member of the now revived Trancelators - who played a nice selection that kept the crowd moving before the stage was taken again. The name of Arnhem's Out Of Many has of course taken been from the Jamaican National anthem, 'Out Of Many, One People' and has only later been shortened to the current Out Of Many. Founded by hornsection the Wicked Horns (trumpet, trombone and saxophone) in the late summer of 2001, a highly succesful jamsession at the city's Reggae Roadblock led to powerfulsinger/toaster Stroll joining the band. A year later Smiley became their second leadsinger. The instrumental intro shows that the band is ready to provide some horn driven reggae, before doing one of only few not self penned songs, a fine take on Black Uhuru's "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner", the other prominent cover being a version of Bob Marley and the Wailers "Exodus". The horns are wicked, but anyone familiar with my concert and party-impressions here knows how much pleasure a band playing with a good horn section provides me in the crowd. Both vocalists did a very fine job, being able to sing and DJ, and very much in control of the riddims (and maybe just a short critical note, not as much in control of the melody near the end) that were backing conscious originals with titles like "Jah In Control", "Rule Over Israel", "Awareness", "Africa", "Give And Take", "Gift Of God" and as an encore the by far strongest selection of the evening, the powerful "Bun Dem". Both bands certainly have the potential to become mainstays in the Dutch Rootsreggae scene.

Text & Photos : Souljah

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