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September 09, 2009

POOR STAGE MANAGEMENT AT IRIE JAMBOREE 2K9




• Major acts do limited performances, some dropped from line-up

By Yasmine Peru

Irie Jamboree September 6th, 2009 will surely go down in history as the show that Sean Paul took. The platinum-selling artiste took it to a new level of boring and started the trickle out of the York College venue in Queens, New York on Sunday. It is amazing how an artiste who goes on stage with all the right ingredients for success - big hit tunes, wicked backing band, healthy body dancers and two hype men - could have fared so badly. Hit song after hit song, there was still zero connect between Sean and the audience during his close to 30 minutes on stage.
Patrons were heard grumbling that the time should have been better allotted so that the more entertaining acts would have been given a chance to really represent the reggae genre. This, after Tarrus Riley got barely seven minutes on stage, and the Big Ship was shrunk to the size of a canoe, as the entire Big Ship Family of Freddy, Laden, Chino and Stephen got less than 10 minutes altogether to perform to a New York crowd that was obviously hungry for them. Also doing a hurried set during this crunch time was the Flames Crew represented by Tony Rebel and Queen Ifrica, both of whom yearned to do full sets.
It was especially frustrating to Queen Ifrica, who having done a scintillating set at Sumfest was really expected to blaze at Jamboree. At one point she even got impatient with the stage managers who constantly beckoned to her from the sidelines. Interestingly, the same ones who let Sean Paul go on and on without interruption.
"Yes bredren, mi hear you," she said as she defiantly continued to do what she was there to do - sing her songs and entertain her fans who were clamouring for her.
Mr Vegas, who was at the venue from early and who has one of the biggest songs in New York, I Am Blessed, didn't even get a chance to touch the stage, thus disappointing his fans who had paid to see him.
Despite this, however, there was still tons of irie vibes inside the venue, as Irie Jamboree, during its seven years, has made its name and so the show is truly a one-day celebration of Jamaican culture and not solely about the performances.
It was being staged for the first time at the York College campus and clearly the venue change didn't affect the turnout as thousands filled up the campus, armed with their Jamaican flags and generously patronising the vendors.
The show got off to the usual early start and by 2:30 artistes were on stage, albeit performing to a moderate sized audience. Advertised acts including the Canadian contingent of Steele, Tasha T and Humble gave New Yorkers real reggae, and so too did Bar-Bee, who was making her debut at Irie Jamboree. Female deejay Lady G, an acknowledged veteran at her craft, was delightful and earned the respect of the crowd. The duo of Daddy Lizard and Flourgon brought the old school vibes on campus, but the only problem is that they performed much too early; they should have come on during the same segment as the 'Bandilero', Pinchers, who also did a good set. Lizard even called up his son, an upcoming deejay, who looks set to walk in his father's footsteps.
The theme for this year's Jamboree was the History of the Music and the orgnisers used representatives from every era to take patrons down memory lane. While this is a good concept which must be lauded, unfortunately the promoters went overboard and put too many artistes on the line-up, hence the unfortunate ending which saw the major acts giving truncated performances.
But those artistes who came in the middle were allowed their given time and some of the performances were truly entertaining. Bushman, an act who is rarely seen on major shows, let the conscious vibes flow and was truly appreciated. His segment was commanding and his 'forwards' were well deserved. Ken Boothe, another of the seasoned veterans, showed his mastery and so too did Mr Lincoln Sugar Minott, a singer who can always be counted on to thrills his audience. The "Jamaican in New York", Shinehead, went through his familiar paces and his home crowd loved him.
Also giving a great solo performance was Gramps Morgan, who had an album release party the previous night.
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Etana, who was making her second appearance at Irie Jamboree, did an attention-getting acoustic set which brought a mellow vibe in the venue. Roots and Wrong Address were among her offerings which were well received. TOK came right after and changed the mood drastically, so much so that the audience couldn't quite digest it; but Assassin proved a winner. His was an intelligent set with thought-provoking lyrics, similar to the performance he gave at A St Mary Mi Come From in August, and like he did then, he called on the Flossing King, Flippa Mafia for a cameo. New York loved Flippa, and he didn't even have to use his champagne-popping, money-throwing gimmicks to earn forwards

Grace Hamilton was at her raunchy best and proved a real treat. The deejay known as Spice did her breakout single No Fight Ova Man and to prove this point she did the follow-up single in which she boldly calls the names of all the artistes who are demanding her body - Beenie, Bounty, Mavado, Kartel and even the Cool Ruler, Gregory Isaacs. It was all fun, especially since the Doctor himself was in the house and the cameras kept throwing to him enjoying her performance and calling her back on stage as she teased with the opening line of Romping Shop and declared that she was leaving.
During the breaks, the organisers used the opportunity to hand out awards to artistes who have contributed to the overall development of the music.
Source: Jamaica Observer

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