Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh 4 stars “Welcome to Liberty City!” bellows Mark Stewart early on in a set to tie in with the recent release of his all-star The Politics of Envy album. Stewart may not need a megaphone, but he makes his point loud, proud and without recourse to the album's guest list, which includes dub legend Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Raincoats bassist Gina Birch, subversive film-maker Kenneth Anger on theremin and all of Primal Scream. Live, such a Who's Who? may be impossible on this short tour, but it doesn't stop Stewart and a dangerously well-drilled three-piece band augmented by fellow-traveller, reggae MC, Brother Culture, lambasting the audience with a thrillingly fearless set of punk-funk dub-reggae metal clatter. Stewart begins proceedings limbering up physically as much as vocally, looking every inch the contender sporting a shiny red tracky top with a towel wrapped round his neck. Stewart's regular foil and production wizard Adrian Sherwood may not be in attendance, but this laptop and pedal-powered experience still manages to capture the album's full-on pummelling assault. The 'Keeping the dream alive' refrain of Autonomia becomes an anthem for a new generation of avant provocateurs, while Stereotype shimmers with a poppy pulse that would put U2 to shame. An unlikely dubbed-out cover of William Blake's poem, Jerusalem, invests Blake's words with a multi-cultural modernity while reclaiming the poem's revolutionary spirit. The place for all this really is a noisy late-night underground shebeen. Yet, closing with Hysteria, dating from his Mark and the Maffia era collaboration with Tackhead, Stewart and co manage to transform a Monday night in Edinburgh with a thrillingly relevant call to arms. Viva to that.
The Herald, June 13th 2012 ends