The Robin comes wob wob wobblin’ along

Martin Longley encountered bassmeister Jah Wobble running through his entire boxed set in Bilston.

Jah Wobble’s Invaders Of The Heart
The Robin2

Ultra-subterranean bassman Jah Wobble forged his reputation as a member of Public Image Ltd., his first monumental achievement being the low-end contribution to their extremely innovative Metal Box triple-vinyl set (Virgin, 1979). Very soon after that he began concentrating on his own multi-manifestation career, adopting several band personas, as well as collaborating with artists such as Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, and several members of the German combo Can.

Invaders Of The Heart have always traditionally been inclined towards global adventuring, incorporating variegated ethnic elements, filtered through the pan-cultural Wobble clan. For this incarnation, the tilt was more towards being a general house band for all of Wobble’s highly varied back catalogue, geared up towards picking out material from his recent Redux six disc boxed set (Cherry Red, 2015).

Compared to earlier versions of this band, the line-up was stripped to a basic drum, guitar and keyboards formation, with a fifth member providing exotic electronic trimmings, possibly including live sampling of his colleagues. Wobble opened with Socialist and closed with Poptones, both out of the Metal Box, representing the darker tunes, but the rest of the set romped around over completely contrasting material, including the ska classic Liquidator (Harry J. All-Stars), the theme to the Midnight Cowboy movie (John Barry), and his own Visions Of You and Becoming More Like God.

The band of mostly younger players forged an intuitive bond, even if they couldn’t match their leader’s individuality or sonic dominance. No complaints about this, as Wobble’s sinuous basslines, frilled with fleet fingering, as well as oleaginous single-mindedness, are the qualities that suck in the audience, for most of the duration. Wobble mashed together hardcore musicianly odysseys with stand-up comedy and anecdotal absurdities, combining as he does, the high-vaulting and the low-creeping, depending upon which way up the consumer is standing.