Latin Quarter and The Dostoyevskys played in the Audiomax Station on their Amnesty International Tour

In general, pop concerts are firstly judged by how many fans attend the event. Important bands concentrate mostly on big halls. Where indeed quite often the importance of the amount of record sales and popularity of the band is emphasised rather than the artistic originality. Therefore the small things are sometimes really the best – like the concert by Latin Quarter and The Dostoyevskys in support of Amnesty International last Sunday evening in the Audiomax of the Justus-Liebig-Univerity.

The benefit concert was announced without the shrill tones that usually characterise the pop-business: a few restrained posters and a more-explanatory rather than advertising leaflet, that was all. A case of well measured understatement – which would become plain in the course of the long, long evening. This lay firstly in the completely unusual organisation: not the usual warm-up act and “top act” appearing after each other, instead they all played and sang together. Secondly, and this was the crucial bit, the musicians kindled an excellent party atmosphere, which was unremittingly hectic and also didn’t push the meaning too far into the background.

The surprise of the evening were The Dostoyevskys. They, in this country still mostly unknown, sextet mixes Celtic and eastern European folk with rock and funk elements to form an original, mostly explosive, but also sometimes melodic mixture. Welshman and creative head of the band, Wayne Jackson, who used to be a roadie with Latin Quarter, shone for over two hours with an exemplary enjoyment in his performance, which is often missing in so many routine rockers.

The audience danced high spiritedly, some even felt themselves encouraged to imitate folk dances. (By the way: If one judges with ones ears how much rubbish the charts contain these days, one can call it a decided piece of lunacy that no record company has signed this folk band up to now.)

The musical contrast to The Dostoyevskys is provided by Latin Quarter: In the songs of the (by now shrunk to a duo) band the quiet and thoughtfully accusing songs predominate. Singer Steve Skaith and his guitar player Richard Wright sing in the sense of Amnesty International: their lyrics pillory human rights abuses and political hypocrisy – not in the least with a verbal hammer, but sensitively but unmistakably. Musically they also bring other nuances to the fore than The Dostoyevskys.

Admittedly the label folk band applies here as well. But the folk elements here didn’t come from the “Old”, rather primarily from the “New World” and from Africa: USA folk, Latin American rhythms and blues made up the second part of the “Concert for human rights”. Which wasn’t only worth hearing for the intensive interpretation of “Radio Africa”, to which the astonishing stamina of the roughly 600 fans could attest.

The two bands offered roughly four hours of brilliant folk music in modern style. For the 24 DM entrance fee one therefore received a first class price-to-hours ratio. Whoever likes folk, but wasn’t in the Audiomax can kick themselves. Or travel to Siegen next Saturday, where the two bands will continue the Amnesty tour.

(Gießenden Zeitung, 26.10.1992)