Live Review: clinton fearon

clinton fearon
jan. 11 • wild buffalo

The Seahawks had just beat the Saints in the playoffs (again) and the energy in the air was palpable. All over the region excitement was boiling over, and Hawks fever was growing – the local gladiators, our beloved Hawks, were on their way to the Superbowl, and another Gladiator, Clinton Fearon, took the Wild Buffalo stage to celebrate the victory, and also his birthday. He turned 63, two days later.
The band all wore red, save for the sax player in blue. They came to let their lovelight shine.
What can be said about a Clinton Fearon show other than it was freaking great and everyone danced their arses off? Clinton Fearon literally defined reggae and still does with every performance. Having joined the Gladiators in 1969 at the tender age of 16, Clinton and his contemporaries wrote the book on reggae; Gave it its rhythm, its cadence, its message, its heart and soul. Reggae may have Bob Marley’s hair, but it’s also got Clinton’s eyes and swagger.
Playing to a room of what is now his 3rd if not 4th generation of fans, he has not lost a step or a note. He had the room in rapt attention, hanging on every word, every cue, every call and response. The crowd was so in sync I had convinced myself it was just all the old guard coming back for another show, a nice room of loyal and devoted fans…but when Clinton asked how many first timers there were in the room, hands shot up like he was asking for volunteers to take a free trip back to Kingston with him.
All of the old standards were covered as well as tracks off his and the Boogie Brown Band’s latest album and a couple covers for good measure. The band intros and solos were definitely a high point of the show, with some amazing individual highlights and some of the most emphatic crowd response. Davee C on drums had came to the show straight from the Hawks game, having left his voice on the field while fulfilling his duties as 12th Man, and Izaak Mills on sax having just flown in from New York (and missing the memo about the red shirts). Ire’ of course took full advantage of his moment in the spotlight to bust out some Marvin Gaye and prove once again why he is a crowd favorite in his own rite.
Bellingham is lucky to say the least to have a musician of Clinton Fearon’s stature and history so accessible and present.
Clinton never fails to hang out after shows and chat up the fans, and there is no shortage of fans who patiently wait for that one handshake and chance to thank a true legend and master of his craft for stopping in and sharing his gift. We always look forward Clinton’s shows and hope to be getting down at them for years to come.
–Victor B. Gotelaere