“This is going to be a spiritual journey.”
The first words to leave the lips of legendary MC and jungle producer Congo Natty at Tramshed, Cardiff last Friday.
As he steps in to apt red, yellow and green lighting, the crowd roar at his simple presence. He humbly addresses the entire room with thanks, and respect for fellow jungle pioneer and friend, Tenor Fly, who lost his life in 2016.
The roars dim and the room is brightened with lighters held high above our heads… with nothing else said, Bob Marley is dropped and the whole room falls into ecstasy, unitedly singing every lyric of ‘Don’t Worry.’
Whilst Congo Natty jams up front, he’s backed by a strong crew pouring healthy and consistent measures of various spirits with apple juice. Congo Dubz takes to the turntables and Phoebe ‘Iron Dread’ Hibbert, holds the mic, as a pretty admirable host throughout.
An ode to Tenor Fly; Congo Dubz changes the mood completely by spinning the very track that made him known to many or some would say, made Pendulum who they are today.
The slow build up receives a nostalgic reaction and gets the crowd amped for what we all know comes next. A downward spiral of electronic noise, accelerated beats and lyrics that no one can actually understand, but again, we take pleasure in singing the ones that we do, mostly just ‘Tarantula’. Regardless, everyone dances into a brief mosh pit and the people around me quickly turn into beautiful sweaty messes of joy.
Controlling the pace of this spiritual journey, Congo Natty takes to the decks and we receive our very first original old school outtake; “this record is one more attempt to expand the minds of all youth world wide” he declares.
Phoebe Hibbert returns to the mic for Révolution, a gradual track that the pair worked on together along with Ras Buggsy and Nanci Correia. The gradual build up bursts into a sonic display of hazy harmonicas, horns and heavy break beats, never sounding the same for too long.
As the son of a Welsh mother and Jamaican father, Congo Natty is grateful to be back in the place that he ironically calls, the motherland.
The most we hear from him all night are expressions of gratitude and wisdom, assured that we are one regardless of the colour of our skin, and we are here to keep the jungliest movement alive and love one another.
Influences are obvious and clear. We are blessed with more Bob Marley, in the form of a ground shaking Johnny Was A Good Man dub remix, backed with Phoebe’s unstoppably fierce bars. Followed by a pleasantly surprising Nirvana tribute, that instigated the real mosh of the night.
“There’s an unstoppable force in her message that is totally captivating and beautiful, with a screw face that shows she means every single word.”
Phoebe Hibbert provided pure energetic vibrations throughout the entire night. Taking the crowd from adrenaline fuelled chants, to powerful and provoking spoken word anecdotes of family and British working class life that sit on the brain for a while after.
There’s an unstoppable force in her message that is totally captivating and beautiful, with a screw face shows that she means every single word.
Between screaming and whistling, the relatable pain melds with discoveries, life lessons and growth through music. We’re witnessing an inspiring new generation of jungle, that has been passed down and encouraged by pioneers such as Congo Natty himself.
Have a listen and get involved, what more can I say?
Words by: Sarah Morgan Photography by: Nick Wotton