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Live review: THE AGGROLITES in Bristol

Los Angeles reggae band THE AGGROLITES hit Bristol earlier this month on a long-overdue tour of the UK.

Despite it being a cold and wet Monday in October, the Exchange on Old Market was busy with an eclectic mix of skinheads, ska punk fans and reggae purists.

Up first was Essex ska collective NEW TOWN KINGS who kicked off things in fine fashion with a high-energy performance.

The band’s well-received set gathered pace and by the time they dropped “La La World” they had most of the crowd skanking around and warmed up for the headline act.

After a brief interlude THE AGGROLITES, all dressed in black, hit the stage and introduced Bristol to their own brand of ‘dirty reggae’.

Starting off with tracks like “Free Time”, “Faster Bullet” and “Work To Do” the Aggro Crew got to work on a non-stop selection of original material and covers.

Along with the traditional ska sound the band is perhaps best known for, funk and soul elements came across strongly this evening, with soulful tunes like “Funky Fire” off their 2006 self-titled album and “Soul Gathering” from IV.

After more than an hour the band left the stage walking through the crowd for the exit, but that wasn’t the end of the night. A few minutes later they were walking back up on to the stage for some encores.

After cracking open cans from the ‘Cider Fairy’, it was back to business with crowd favourites “A.G.G.R.O.”, “Dirty Reggae” and “Mr Misery”, among others.

Highlights of the show have to be the impressive organ work by Roger Rivas, and more generally the passion and skill the whole band puts across.

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