Birmingham, England reggae rockers, Steel Pulse, swept through the town of Eugene, Oregon with a surprise visit to the McDonald Theatre. Even with only about a month’s notice for the show, the rubadub legends had no trouble packing the house. Currently on a world tour, Steel Pulse is trickling across the states and have also just announced their first studio album in 15 years since African Holocaust. The new album, Mass Manipulation, will release on May 17th and has already yielded the two singles, “Stop You Coming and Come” and “Cry Cry Blood.”
Lead singer David Hinds and keyboardist Selwyn Brown are the two remaining members from the original lineup, and are now backed by some spry young musicians that keep up with Hinds and Brown, not the other way around. The setlist was, as usual, a balanced evening of classic hits such as “Chant a Psalm” as well as tracks from their new record like “Stop You Coming and Come.” When Hinds wasn’t acting as frontman, Brown would step out from behind his keyboard and grab the mic. For example, during “Babylon Makes the Rules” Brown engaged the crowd at the edge of the stage. For the final song of the night, Steel Pulse performed an epic, extended version of “Steppin’ Out,” one of their all-time fan favorites.
They returned for an encore and made sure to please everyone’s ears with their number one track, “Rollerskates.” The choice of song to end the set with was questionable, however. As good a song as “Taxi Driver” may be, the relatability was most likely lost on a crowd of Oregon hippies that have never really experienced the kind of predjudice within the song's lyrics. Though, perhaps it was a wake-up call for the Eugene population, rather than a common ground. As Hinds said during the show, “It’s 2019 and we still have racism.” With justice on their side, Steel Pulse must feel the obligation to continue awakening the world.