Reviewed on Friday October 18.

Stepping through the gates at Sydney’s Luna Park was like stepping across the ocean and landing in New Zealand – six-foot tattooed Maoris and dreadlocked reggae lovers filled the arena; chants of “chur bro” and “choice” echoed from the bar. It appeared as though every Kiwi this side of the Tasman had come to Sydney to see the legendary roots reggae band Katchafire and get their skank on at the Big Top.

Sydney-based, Auckland-born singer Sammielzopened the gig to a small crowd with his mellow, soulful tunes including ‘Addicted’ and ‘Ain’t No Rush’.

After a short interlude with DJ Peter Gunzthrowing down some beats, the floor had filled and Common Kingstook the stage.

Returning for their second visit to Australian shores, the four-piece group from Orange Country, California kicked off their set with an energetic mash-up of Michael Jackson’s ‘Billy Jean’ and The Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’. Fusing together their unique Polynesian sounds with pop-rock and R&B, Common Kings kept the energy high and the crowd singing, combining covers of Top 40 tunes with originals including ‘Waste My Time’ and ‘Fall In Love’. They closed with a reggae-style cover of Bruno Mars’ ‘Young, Wild And Free’, before introducing the legendary Aotearoa roots-reggae group, Katchafire.

On tour for their Best So Far album, the iconic Kiwi band had the crowd smiling and singing the whole night through. As a compilation of 16 of the best songs from their four studio albums to date, the recent album made for the perfect live setlist, giving fans a little bit of everything from ‘Colour Me Life’ and ‘Love Letter’ to the crowd staple sing-along classic, ‘Sweet As’.

A little funk, a little soul and still a whole lot of reggae, a defining feature of Katchafire is their ability to send out those feel-good vibes while looking just as stoked to be there as the fans.

BY JULIENNE GILET

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