I don't even remember how old I was when I first saw Bob Marley on tv, but I do know that from the ages of 12 - 15, I shared a room with my older step brother who always had a group of Kiwi mates around and they were mad about reggae and opened my mind to it even more.
I remember them bringing their Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff and other reggae cassettes over and one song that to this day has stayed with me and in fact is my favourite reggae song is 'Fisherman' by the Congos (off 1977's 'The Heart of the Congos' Album).
So it was with great pleasure that I squeezed into Fitzroy's suitably packed Northside Records to hear 'Fisherman' and other tracks performed live to an adoring, thrilled and extremely upbeat audience, that literally jammed Northside Records, the footpath and part of the road out front.
The Congos arrived late so the backing band, Mister Savona, warmed the crowd up with some Congos instrumentals.
About halfway through one of their tracks the Congos turned up and before they had put their bags down, got their jackets off, they were straight onto the 4 Mics and riding the reggae riddims like men quarter their ages.
About 4 songs in the Congos stopped for a break to say hello to the crowd, sign records, bags, tshirts and pose for photographs.
The Congos were very natural, full of praise for the Australian audiences that had brought them out here, thanked us for our welcome, support, spent lots and lots of time with people who had come to see them, both new fans and old (their were many children and even some babies in the audience!).
Then it was time to jump back on the Mics for 2 more tracks, once of which was Fisherman, which blew my mind, as I was literally 2 feet away from the Congos during the performance and the years may have greyed their beards, but the harmonies were as sweet as ever and delivered with real soul, vigor and joy, which brought the crowd to a huge crescendo and cheer.
The Congos finished with an accappella and then spent more time with the adoring crowd, who with their new albums, cds and Tshirts in hand, got everything signed by the band who took their time to get to everyone waiting.
Thanks to Northside Records for another wonderful gig and to the Congos and Mista Savona for the beautiful music.
If you don't know the Congos music, go find it and remember to row fisherman row, keep on rolling along...