The band’s first show in 32 years, Tackhead headlined On-U Sound’s 40th anniversary show. Founding members Keith LeBlanc (drums), Doug Wimbish (vocals, bass) and Skip McDonald (guitar) shared a stage with lead vocalist Bernard Fowler to celebrate 40 years of the label they started out on.

They began with a drum solo by LeBlanc during ‘Heaven On Earth’ taken from his 1986 ‘Major Malfuction’ album on which the other band members contributed. Tackhead soon moved onto one of their best known singles from ‘Friendly As A Hand Grenade’, ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ – Wimbish’s cranky slap bass enhanced with explosive pyrotechnical overdubbing provided by Adrian Sherwood at the controls.

The band also performed another of their well known singles, ‘Mind At The End Of The Tether’ from their 1986 debut album, Sherwood’s dubbing now sounding like rocket launchers off Wimbish’s bass. Former Tackhead member and Rolling Stones backing vocalist Bernard Fowler then arrived onstage to perform Reverend TACK’s ‘Stealing’, also wishing Adrian Sherwood’s label a happy birthday.

They performed another set as Mark Stewart & The Maffia, playing some of the tracks they had recorded with him back then, including ‘Hysteria’ from 1990’s ‘Metatron’ with its building crescendo of ominous wavering bass and guitar and ‘As The Veneer of Democracy Starts To Fade’ from the album of the same name, which Stewart remarked, “seemed to come true a long time ago,” featuring McDonald’s demented guitar solo. They ended their set on reggae track ‘Liberty City’ from Stewart’s debut album ‘Learning To Cope With Cowardice’.


30/04/22: Tack>>Head + Mark Stewart & The Maffia @ O2 Forum Kentish Town, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.