Raggamuffin 2014

By Jake Ebdale

Date / Venue:  Saturday December 13th, Trusts Arena, Auckland

It was a good day. I threw my set in the air. Had a couple of red red wines too.

Alright, obligatory song title puns through - I really had a good time at this year's Raggamuffin festival, no small feat considering the constant drizzle which soon turned into heavy pissing blotches that rendered ponchos useless.

The day was jam-packed with a very talented line-up - including local heroes Katchafire, Che Fu, P Moneyand Aaradhna. Going up against a heavyweight BBQ band like UB40, our unique brand of reggae really holds its own.

I was there to see the big three - UB, Cypress Hill and Ice Cube. It's safe to say, all of them delivered - Cypress cranking out a ruthless set of hits that included ‘Insane In The Brain', ‘We Ain't Goin' Out Like That' and‘Hand On The Pump'. B Real and Sen Dog were the clear favourites.

Ice Cube was a definite presence on stage with a boosted profile after his role in 22 Jump Street. Many will forget his seminal role in gangsta gods NWA - but no worries, in the middle of his set, Cube played an exclusive trailer of the upcoming NWA biopic. It looks good! Back to the music, Cube was his usual aggressive, confrontational self. ‘It Was a Good Day' and ‘Check Yourself' reigned supreme.

Then UB40 - oh, how far they've come. A bunch of 50/60 somethings that still crank out the best summer tunes imaginable, with Kiwis taking a particular shine to their unemployment themed tunes of hardship.  ‘Rat In Mi Kitchen' absolutely slayed, the rain not dampening one spirit. The obligatory ‘Red, Red Wine' and a surprisingly on-point ‘Food For Thought' were the icing on the reggae cake.

As for teething issues at the new Auckland venue, there were hardly any. Good food, good free transport - the only thing I could think of is add portaloos closer to where the music is (cos it was a mission that guaranteed you'd miss at least one good song).

Otherwise, a great day. Can't wait until next year.