July 26, 2010
I-OCTANE, IDONIA, KHAGO, MAVADO AND VYBZ KARTEL CAME OUT THE WINNERS ON DANCEHALL NIGHT AT REGGAE SUMFEST
Contributed by Tricia Spence
Well Reggae Sumfest Dancehall Night, July 22, 2010 night has come and gone and what a night it was. The underdogs pinned the show tighter than a head of freshly done sewn in weave and raised their profiles by leaps and bounds.
Entrance into the venue was smooth and signs were clearly posted for VIP ticket holders, persons with armbands and persons purchasing tickets at the gates. Parking was hassle free as was the traffic flow post the event. Security detail littered the venue and parking lots and adequate checks were done to ensure that no weapons were allowed into the venue
As per usual the venue was a plethora of well decorated sponsor booths trying to out bevy one another in an attempt to woo the many patrons at the venue and quite frankly they succeeded. The usual fare of local food vendors was present both on the periphery and backstage and craft vendors were tactically located near the entrance of the venue. Due to the heavy down pouring of rain earlier in the day the grounds at the venue was a soggy mess and an unwanted stunt ground for many women who had worn slippers, that aside the venue was an eye pleaser.
Some celebrity sightings were Ms Universe, Yendi Phillips who was in good spirits, Annmarita Golding, the P.M.’s daughter, Minister Of Information, Daryl Vaz, Chris Martin, Beenie Man, Bescenta, Charly Black, Harry Toddla.
The first artiste we saw on stage was Tifa who made no bones about spelling it out;
then came Dancehall’s Bad Gyal, Ce'Cile who worked a very good set, considering she performed earlier than was scheduled. The inclusion of Mr Budget! Twitter, Spectacular! Tanto Blacks enhanced her routine when she performed her big hit Coffee, the crowd heartily drank it all up.
Dressed by Uzuri D'Angel worked a greatly improved set which playfully incorporated The Shady Squad dancers into her routine.
Ding Dong belted out the energy required for the hard to please crowd and did not leave the members of his Ravers Clavers family behind.
Performing at Sumfest for the first time without recently slain member O’Neil, to whom the night was dedicated, Kevin and Craig dressed in clean fitting white suits trimmed with black walked on with a choir and kicked off their set with Praise His Name, an inspirational song (1st performed at O’niel’s memorial service). Images of O’niel were interspersed throughout the performance. Swiftly reminding the audience what Voicemail is known for, the duo moved into a dance set with Craigy Dread and others before delivering some of their hit ballads. Shortly before the end of their set Craig did a nouveau piece encouraging the audience to make a change in their lives by looking at themselves in the mirror. Often overlooked in the group and often described as a filler, Kevin stepped to the plate to close out their segment with a rare solo piece which encouraged the audience to say what they needed to say to a loved one before they lost them, it put them in a somber mood.
GT Taylor, one of the emcees for the night asked for the patrons to put up their lighters for a minute in tribute to O’Neil, Sugar Minott and Karl Young, founder of Irie Fm (the first Roots Rocking Reggae Radio and #1 station on the island) and Zip Fm.
At about 12:04 am one of the young gunz of 2009 came blazing onto the stage fireman style in an eye catching attire by former Atlanta based now relocated to Jamaica designer, Mr Spokes. Showing why he cyan be cooled, Khago formerly Chicago caused torches to flare in tandem to his lyrics. Nah Sell Out Mi Fren Dem on Seanizzle’s One Day riddim brought him a double encore. For a young performer, his use of stage and energy was phenomenal.
The Gangstress Stacious came into her room on the big stage, all dressed in her self-designed ‘goodas’ outfit. It was, however, the daggeration moves with the midget that had the crowd railing with howls of excitement. Putting a different spin on things, the Gangstress handled the midget hoisting him around her waist and giving him a real gully wine.
Clean crisp and dressed like a young captain, Chino sailed onto the stage and wasted no time launching into his hit songs. It was his varied rendition of Ruff It Up (Acoustic style) while seated and pretending to play a guitar that made the ladies really look. From Mawning got the biggest response in his set. When he brought on the Captain of the Ship, veteran performer and his father, Freddie McGregor, he almost was overshadowed. As if that were not enough, the patrons got a treat from one of the busiest Jamaican beat makers in the business, Di Genius. Clad in black, which provided a good contrast to Chino’s white and gold outfit (both designed by Romeich) his Nah Fren Again and Cyan Forgive dem earned him encores.
Sprinting onto the stage for his set was the hilarious and witty Kiprich aka Kippo. His ‘A Wanna Know Where Bruce Is’ using Foreigner’s I Wanna Know What Love Is melody earned him forwards. What can really be said of Kiprich is that he does not need to have a hit song to be able to tear down a venue. He then jumped into a medley of his hits which was well received, but strangely when he ‘styled’ the gays there was hardly much of a response as would normally happen in previous years. Maybe the times are changing.
Peppered and charged up, Spice dressed all Lady Gagaesque found great favour with two extempo songs on both the Hold Yuh Riddim and Mad Collab Riddim. Instead of singing ‘a weh u get dat new clarks deh dawdie’ she put her twist to it ‘a weh u get dat big **** deh dawdie’. She had the ladies in a chokehold with that. The real clincher in her performance however was when, the Fluffy Diva from Flecthers Land aka Pamputtae posed the Fluffy vs Slimmaz challenge. It took Spice’s set to a whole new level. Dressed in lace and a body suit Pamputtae jumped, bubbled, rolled and rested on her head top fluffy style, but it was the alternate vibrating of her left and right posterior cheeks that had the crowd screaming. Miss Kitty, one of the emcees also got involved and showed them that big girls do possess di action.
Another young gun to the business, Konshens played on the girls conscience with Good Girl Gone Bad that earned him an encore. He has come a far way in terms of his use of stage and delivered a tight set. Keep an eye on this performer.
Next up was the man who produced Digicel's Riddim (The Next Generation Riddim) for Sumfest, none other than prolific beat maker cum artiste Demarco. He spewed out the hits with a strong vocal delivery some of which got a good response, but part of the problem with Demarco’s performance is that he has to work around the stage, albeit Sumfest’s stage is a big one to master. It was not until Love a Come Down that he got a monsterous response, even involving his drummer and a female dancer while he took over drumming duties.
When Lord Evil aka Idonia held onto the microphone and shouted in his grovelly voice, Bad People Deh ya Move, the crowd did indeed move. Dressed like a vampire from Romania, in full black and a long flowing coat lined with purple silk he sank his teeth into the crowd, moving spit fire style, delivering hit after hit after hit. He called Aisha out to do Heart Is Hers and showed them all that he not only can get 'em, but can grind 'em. Giving the slowest most pulsating wine on Aisha while rhyming his lyrics, Idonia had women biting and licking their lips. Not leaving out Jahova he acknowledged the Messiah to close. He was a crowd pleaser.
At 2:41 am the crowd was bowled over by the young man from Clarendon who many say stole the show. One of two Digicel Ambassadors, I Octane lived up to his name. Dressed in Purple and White, he was in a no nonsense mood. His performance elicted the buzz of vuvuzelas, the rage of a bonfire, torches flaming all around the venue, lighters and phone lights on almost every hand in the venue. His energy was immeasurable and the sequencing of his songs so well put together that he had the audience eating out of his hands. A surprise act in his set was Zj Liquid (son of St James and Red Stripe Ambassador), walking out with Chant A Psalms and quickly moving into Wifey Walk Out Matey Stand Up, his addition amped up the set even more. No doubt Digicel is going to look into doing Bigger Better things with I Octane after this performance.
Up next came one of the most intelligent and well spoken artistes in the business Agent Sasco aka Assassin. The second of the Digicel Amabassdors, dressed like a general he led the charge in his set giving an impressive, high energy and educative set. It is clear that he has spent a lot of time working on how to deliver his huge catalogue of hits and it has paid off.
Fresh off the confiscation of his convertible Mercedes by Jamaican Tax Authorities and introduced almost in the same manner by emcee Miss Kitty, the Energy God exploded unto the stage at about 3:30 am and as predicted addressed the issue before swinging into his set of feet swagging tunes. A guest appearance into his set by ‘di gyal dem’ selecta Tony Matterhorn which saw them switching back and forth between hit songs had the ladies bending and vibrating uncontrollably. It was a bit evident though that his recent debacle with the tax authorities did affect his energy somewhat, this in comparison to recent years.
He might have had his US Visa taken from him but the Gully God aka Movado gave a truly international performance. Giving prime attention to the ladies at the commencement of his set, he showed why a him the ‘gyal dem a mad ova’, when he brought Stacious into his set for Come Into My Room, the chemistry between them elevated the crowd to another level. Not doing away with his gangster ways he did a medley of his badman hits and other tunes which set off torches and lighters. He made mention of the peace between Gully and Gaza. Most astounding was his unbelievable energy and use of the grand stage which hardly left him breathless; it seemed almost as if he had been in training with Usain Bolt. A true Alliance member he acknowledged The General, Bounty Killer and brought other Alliance Members Flexxx and Wayne Marshall into his scintillating set. Rehearsals for the Gully God have definitely paid off with huge interest.
Come 4:34 am the General of the Alliance, Bounty Killer darted unto the stage and in his first song he acknowledged his son Vybz Kartel. In true Warlord style he launched into a war catalogue and ran the hits that made him famous over the years. Visibly upset over the crime in Jamaica he made a poignant statement to which the crowd agreed; it alluded to the fact that the dutty shotta dem name waste sperm, dutty germ. Big up police weh a do dem work. He brought on Angel Doolas and praised him for writing Book Book Book and said he was one of his best friends. He said they were honoring him on that night he would not ‘gwan too mad’, but as the sun rose he chided the engineering for not setting the microphone with a proper mix. He also addressed the Government saying they imposed a State of Emergency, but they needed a State of Urgency cause poor people more ‘feduperer’ to which the crowd cheered merrily. Truly confounding was when the Killer asked the gangster dem if they knew about punaany the place was quiet. He had to ask it again. He then brought up Bugle followed by Elephant Man to do their hits on the Mad Collab Riddim. The final artiste he bought on stage was young talent Pattexx. While Bounty's set was a bit long, the audience was tolerant because he was being honored. It was his time, even Beenie Man was in the crowd acknowledging him.
Johnny Gurzong and Robert Russell presented him with a plaque, which placed a smile on his face. The Killer made a statement to the effect that he has done things in the past of which have not approved, but he was a good boy. They all agreed. A video tribute was then played while the band exited.
At 5:34 am the man who had a great deal of controversy surrounding his improbable performance at Sumfest due to his recent lock up was getting ready to close Dancehall Night at Reggae Sumfest. A newscast announcing his arrest followed by another newscast announcing his release was played, at which point Vybz Kartel was escorted on stage in his prison attire complete with handcuffs and tie head by a police officer. The place went into an uproar. His entrance was the best at Sumfest and the start of his set was excellent. He gave a good performance considering he was in lockup for close to 2 weeks. A number of persons started walking out on his performance, but that could have been due to the time of day and the long hours of standing, since they could not lie down on the traditional 'reggae mat' on the soggy ground.
Overall Dancehall Night at Reggae Sumfest was okay, Band Changes were much better than in previous years, but the Mixing Engineer could have done a better job on the microphones.