Gig of the week: It’s just the three of us

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Reggae newcomers Jah Fire reckon they offer up double value for fans. 

The Invercargill trio has crafted an on-stage wall of sound you’d expect from twice as many musos, they say. 

“We are a three-piece band with a six-piece noise,” bassist-vocalist Summa Johnson says. “Because we all play and sing, we multi-task – and that’s a skill on its own. 

“It’s called dynamics. We produce multiple sounds from limited resources and that’s really hard to do.”
As well as cranking out an impressive set of self-penned numbers, the Revolver-bound Jah Fire boys also pay homage to their musical heroes. 

They cover tracks by the likes of Bob Marley and the Wailers, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Kora and Cornerstone Roots. 

“When we do other people’s songs we like to call them ‘justice covers’ because we try our best to do justice to the original artists and pay proper respect,” Johnson explains. 

“Fat Freddy’s Drop is an eight-piece but we can still produce the same quality with only three of us. 

“What Jah Fire brings to the table is we’re a skanking, ska, reggae band.” 

Johnson and his pals, Peti Seiuli (guitar/vocals) and Jeremy Wynyard (drums/vocals) are all full-time students doing music and arts courses at the Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill. 

They got together in late 2008 and started gigging after a couple of initial jam sessions went well. 

Jah Fire’s biggest thrill came when invited to play at the after-show party at Revolver for The Original Wailers last November, following the legendary Jamaican band’s two sold-out gigs at Queens­­town’s Memorial Hall. 

“It was some buzz,” Johnson says. “We had only been on the go for about a year and here we were on stage in front of some of Bob Marley’s old group. 

“They were very supportive towards us and encouraged us, big-time.” 

The lads from Jah Fire are looking forward to a return trip to Queenstown for their own gig tomorrow, after going down well at the free Homelands festival in the resort last month. 

They also have ambitious plans to release a raft of songs on CD later on this year. 

“Ideally, we’d like to put out an EP first then go straight for a double-album,” Johnson says. “We have about 20 original tracks to choose from already and we’re pretty prolific, so there’s no point in messing about.”