Pato Banton: Live & Seen

> > Jan 03 2013

Pato Banton: Live & Seen
By Ralph ElawaniQuestionably introduced by Reggae TV's "Mr. Rich," this 177-minute-long DVD is hard to knock because of the seemingly honest effort behind that good excuse for a two-hour walk to the corner store. Packaged as "an awesome DVD featuring a live performance in San Diego, California, as well as an in-depth interview and documentary," Live & Seen lives up to only one of the aforementioned claims: there is indeed a performance in San Diego, CA. For whatever reason, Mr. Rich kicks off the ball by "toasting" in Jamaican patois (remember, Rich looks as Rastafarian as Bob Rae) and subsequently embarks upon a Scientology-meets-Troy-McClure monologue to cap off his introduction to Banton's modest success story: "I guarantee that if you watch this show or go see him live, he will be your friend too." Born in Birmingham, England, to Jamaican parents, Banton spent his youth soaking up bass culture in the company of his stepdad, a reggae DJ who would turn their modest home into a dance club during the weekends. Interviewed in a Southern California recording studio, the now 51-year-old musician in a do-rag recalls tales of police brutality, black identity and collaborations with UB40, Mad Professor, the English Beat, Sting (for the Ace Ventura soundtrack) and Peter Gabriel, in god-awful cargo pants. Banton's story comes across as a saga of honesty, perseverance and religious je ne sais quoi, in the midst of this cringe-inducing public-access publicity stunt for the other Reggae TV episodes. Live & Seen is exactly what you would expect from a mid-'80s reggae fan with a handheld camera and an acquired taste for the men's wooden beads necklace section at his local surf shop. Accountable for the worst period in reggae music's history, the decade spanning from 1985 to 1995 was as tasteful as the annual Gathering of the Juggalos. Hence, some of the other highlights on this train wreck include Pato's video for "Bubbling Hot," anachronistic posters (the English Beat on the same bill as RX Bandits, as Pato talks about his meeting with the Beat in 1980), a handful of Funky-C and Funky-Do sons of reggae pioneers banking on their last name, and many more moments during which you'll wish Pato was really your friend.
(MVD Visual)
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