Ikimasho!

My night with Pato Banton in Tokyo

pato


Just like a soup in a pot we are what?! Bubbling Hot.

Living in Tokyo throws up all sorts of random nights out but last weekend has to be up there with the best of them. I got a text from my buddy Tom who told me Pato Banton was gonna be in town on Saturday night, playing some dive reggae bar in the middle of nowhere in Shinagawa-ku. Pato, of course, is maybe best known for his UK Number 1 ‘Baby Come Back’ with UB40 in 1994 – as well as the amazing Bubbling Hot which is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face. Usually, artists like this play bigger venues in Shibuya etc so it seemed kind of bizarre that Pato would be appearing in some tiny random reggae bar a bit further out. All the better!



We ate burgers first in Shimokitazawa – excitedly singing Bubbling Hot and wondering if we’d be able to meet Pato. It was just way too random. Joining up with more of our little crew – Ko and Vincent – we changed trains on to the Toei Asakusa line and got off at Nakanobu. During the train ride we were looking at people and trying to guess who’d be going to see Pato Banton. We spotted one woman with an afro and hemp clothes and just smiled at each other. Of course she turned up. Just as we thought, the neighbourhood he was playing in was in the middle of nowhere, not much about. When we walked into the bar we were too early and the only paying customers except for the bar staff and the promoters. The place was tiny, could maybe hold 50 people at a push.


After a few drinks the place started to get busier. We sat and chatted with Pato’s wife Antoinette who told us she used to live in Okinawa in the 1980s – she was such a nice person! In the background the reggae soundsystem played stuff like Aswad and the place cheered when Pato walked in. He stood at the front and sang over a backing track. What an odd experience – watching Pato Banton play live in a tiny reggae bar in Shinagawa. He opened up with Bubbling Hot and of course we were all singing and dancing along. His voice was amazing and the positive vibes were off the chart. After the show I told him that it gave me a good feeling watching him. Seriously, if you ever meet Pato Banton the main thing you’ll be left with is how much he smiles. He called me over later and gave me a signed spiritual/philosophy book with his cell phone number, saying we are all family and I could call him anytime. Totally random! Thanks, Pato & Antoinette! Here’s some footage of Pato – with Tom  smashing out some Aswad at the start.



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