Misty in Roots – The Cluny

It’s been such a shit week at work that I really really couldn’t face going in today so I decided to work from home. If I had gone in I would have had to leave early anyway to get Ben to Taekwondo and then drive all the way back again to go to the gig at the Cluny 2 tonight! So I set up in the attic and got on with what I had to do! It also meant that I had to chance to get in the mood for tonights gig!

I can’t remember where I first heard Misty in Roots’ album Live at the Counter Eurovision but I suspect that it could well have been round at my mates house in Eccles in a cloud of dubious smelling smoke! The opening spoken introduction has gone down in legend and was even printed on the order of service at John Peel’s funeral.

When we trod this land, we walk for one reason. The reason is to try to help another man to think for himself. The music of our hearts is roots music: music which recalls history, because without the knowledge of your history, you cannot determine your destiny; the music about the present, because if you are not conscious of the present, you are like a cabbage in this society; music which tells about the future and the judgement which is to come.”


So listening to that album was almost compulsory today! While I was working at home in the attic I also found a 12″ single I’d forgotten I had!


We were into British Reggae while we were at University and managed to catch bands like Weapon of Peace and Halem Spirit but we didn’t get to see Misty. Just after I graduated in 1983 the aforementioned mate became the Social Secretary at the University and one of the first bands he booked was Misty in Roots so naturally I went down to see them. I obviously got in for nothing and met up with all my mates from Ents…needless to say I only have vague memories of that evening! Incredibly I missed them at Glastonbury in 1992 but that was a strange year as I had a (very) pregnant wife and an 18th month old daughter with me so I was lucky I saw anyone! Then I saw them at the Melkweg in Amsterdam in 1996. I was working over there and discovered my mate and his girlfriend were over the same weekend so we met up and went to see them…needless to say I only have vague memories of that evening!

Misty in Roots Cluny poster

So I was quite excited when I found out that they were booked to play at the Cluny 2 in Newcastle as part of a three show tour which included Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh! As soon as I got the chance I dashed over to the Cluny, which is just round the corner from my office and bought a ticket. I was actually quite excited about going to the Cluny too as I haven’t been there yet!


I parked down by the Tyne and then walked along the banks of the Ouseburn to get to the venue. I was already regretting wearing my jacket but had thought that it might be chilly walking back to the car after the gig (it wasn’t!) When I got to the Cluny the sign on the door said Doors 8pm Support 8:15, Misty in Roots 9:45 but as it was gone 8 and the doors were still locked then obviously that was now looking a bit sus!

I headed for the main bar and got myself a beer and by the time I’d got back the doors were open. I went down a flight of stairs, handed over my ticket and had my hand stamped and then went down the second flight to the venue. The layout of the venue is odd as the entrance comes into the room right next to the stage and as I rounded the corner I was aware that someone was on stage playing. I assumed that it was the support band but when I looked I realised that it was Misty in Roots doing their soundcheck!

I stood and watched them till they finished and then after they’d gone off a roadie came out and moved a few microphones around and then a few minutes later two guys sort of ambled onto the stage and started singing which turned out to be the start of the support act Collective Identity.

They were joined on stage over the next hour by a collection of rappers and singers who included Kema Kay, Radikal Queen, Jah Glory and Hush.

I’d started off just standing at the side but as the room got busier I moved nearer and nearer to the front which is where I was when the support slot finished with a failed attempt to get all the artists back onstage together again. I then realised that I needed to go to the loo and possibly to the bar and if I did this I might lose my place at the front. I set off but after fighting my way up the stairs to the loo I really couldn’t be arsed to fight my way to the bar as well! So I headed back to the stage and ended up standing behind a couple but “second row” would do me! I waited while the crew put everything back to where it belonged and the a guy came on and introduced Misty in Roots.


The band came on stage and started to play – it was the same start they had done on the recording from 2016 I had been listening to in the car on the way to the venue. They start of playing the intro to Praises from the band’s album Musi-O-Tunya and then at the relevant point the lead singer Poko ambles onto the stage to start singing! It was during the first couple of songs that the bloke in front of me looked a bit pissed off at being jostled by people (me included) dancing and I thought “come on mate it’s a small venue – what do you expect!” – part of me hoped he’d get pissed off and bugger off but he didn’t!!


It became quite obvious that the set was very similar to the one I had been listening to when they continued with Poor and Needy and the Babylon’s Falling. It was fantastic being so close to them to be able to see the details like the Rickenbacker bass or the missing tooth the lead singer flashed when he sang or best of the the expressions on the drummers face which sadly I wasn’t able to adequately capture! On top of that the music was wonderful!

Ignorance, ignorant minds, corrupted and confused
Build their lives on vanity has no love for humanity
Dreams are just an illusion, pavements are not gold
Hatred, hatred and oppression down in the ghetto
Down, down, down in the ghetto of the city

Misty in Roots 2 mono.jpg

Now I know people moan about people with mobile phones at gigs and I know I’m one of the first offenders but in my defence I have been taking photos at gigs since the mid seventies and if I didn’t use my mobile I’d probably find a way of sneaking my bigger camera in! In all honesty there was a guy with a pretty decent Canon taking photos and to me he was more annoying because he insisted on using the flash! Firstly it’s fucking annoying both to artists and audience, secondly it doesn’t do anything for the photos because it ruins the ambience and finally he kept fucking up my pictures when I happened to take one the same time as he did!

It’s only technology killing humanity
to give your souls to that you give your life away
Get on board…
Get on board…
The last train is going soon
Get on board or you’ll leave behind
The last train is going soon
Get on board or you’ll leave behind


What did fuck me off though were another couple just in front of me. About three songs from the end she turned round and thrust her phone into the air right next to my ear! Then her and her boyfriend stood literally with their faces almost in mine and took selfies of themselves with the band in the background! I found this probably one of the most annoying things ever to happen to me at a gig (almost on a par with that bloke who decided to stroke my beard during Dark Star!) I wouldn’t have minded if I hadn’t seen her sending a message just before the gig which said “waiting for Misty and the Roots to come on” – so basically you’re taking a selfie of yourself with a band you don’t even know the name of! Luckily they pissed off shortly afterwards and left me with a space right at the front!

I tell you
Heathens say Don’t praise Jah in their dens
All they want is sex and vanity
Heathens say Don’t flex like you and me
All they want is sex and vanity


To my delight they played two tracks off the Live at the Counter Eurovision album – Ghetto of the City and See them Ah come. They finished far too soon and I don’t know if they had planned to do an encore but after much chearing they returned to play Cover up and Dancehall Babylon! After the show finished I walked back to the car in the car park and when I got there I found a Police car next to it! I didn’t have to worry about being over the limit but I really could do without being stopped and having to go through with all the nonsense! I unlocked my car and took my jacket off – it was stuck to my arms and it was a struggle to get it off and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was making me look a bit pissed! I drove off and to my relief they didn’t follow me!

Misty in Roots.jpg

OK now up above I mentioned that I only have vague memories of seeing the band at the two previous gigs I went to – this time however this was not the case. About halfway through the set I regretted not writing down the set list but I think it was something like the one below. I may have got it wrong (and I’m open to corrections!) and I may have got it mixed up with the recording I was listening to on the way there and back but…

Poor & Needy
Babylons Falling
No Love
Ghetto of the city
West Livity
On the road again
Wondering wanderer
See them ah come
Cover up
Dance Hall Babylon

Misty in Roots 5

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