Reggae star I-Octane energised the hardcore grassroots dancehall audiences stateside with a trio of high energy performances in frigid, wintry conditions in the Tri-state area in early February.
After a whirlwind media tour at the end of January, I-Octane returned to New York for incendiary performances at SOBs in New York City, Temptations Night Club in Brooklyn and The Hut in New Jersey.
The singjay kicked off the week on Monday, February 7, 2011, as the headliner at the first installment of the popular 'Rock With Squeeze' shows this year. Hosted by David "Squeeze" Annakie, CEO of LinkUp Media and Publisher of JAMROCK Magazine, I Octane pulled out a huge
crowd for the 7 p.m. show as fans braved freezing temps and rain to see the singjay in action.
And he did not disappoint.
Kicking off his set with the number one single No Love Inna Dem, Octane had the audience dancing and singing along to other hits such as My Life, Lose A Friend, Puff It, and Mine Who Yuh A Dis. At the end of his set, Squeeze conducted an on-stage interview. At that time a
request from a fan to be serenaded by the singjay was granted and he crooned Every time You Touch Me, a favorite among his female fans who screamed in appreciation.
Two days later, Octane was in awesome form as he thrilled a packed Brooklyn’s Temptations Nightclub during the weekly Wah A Gwaan Wednesdays event. Industry insiders Jabba, and Mr. Cee of Hot 97 as well as broadcaster Nikki Z were among the fans on hand to witness the
singjay’s stellar performance.
“I-Octane's performance on February 9th at a jam - packed Temptations in Brooklyn was special. The fans and media were on hand to witness the I-Octane movement and they were in a frenzy. I've kept many shows in Brooklyn at Temptations and have never seen the hard core Brooklyn garrison audience accept and receive an artist like they did I-Octane. Hapilos, Steelie Bashment and I are proud of this very successful promotion. I-Octane has arrived and he isn’t going anywhere any time soon,” promoter Johnny Wonder said.
Mr. Cee, the host of Hot 97’s popular “Throwback at Noon” was so enthralled by the singjay’s performance, that he announced that he had decided to add a few of the singjay’s songs to his set.
“To hear I-Octane’s music is one thing but to see him perform live is a must. I-Octane is that next dude,” Mr. Cee remarked.
It is clear that I-Octane has not only tapped into a new fan base but most importantly he has earned the respect of those in the industry - "I-Octane is a shining example of what an artist should be. He does not have a song on major market radio nor does he have the hype behind him but he was still able to take on a mixed crowd and hold their attention. This is a perfect example of where reggae and dancehall should be. He makes me proud and he should make Jamaica proud." Diva Nikki Z
If the nightclub gig in Brooklyn was popping, then Newark, New Jersey was simply scintillating as I-Octane rounded out a memorable swing through the Tri-state area with a performance at The Hut on Thursday, February 10, 2011.
The anthem of the hardcore dancehall audience in Newark appears to be “Puff It” because that single earned the biggest forwards on a night where Octane could do no wrong. Huge cheers greeted each selection with each roar from the crowd eclipsing the excitement and force of
the previous forward. Octane brought the audience to a thrilling climax that is sure to have the hardcore fans buzzing for a long time.
It is clear that I-Octane has not only tapped into a new fan base but most importantly he has earned the respect of those die-hard fans who have been deprived of high quality reggae acts in recent months because of the visa problems currently being experienced by most of
the top reggae-dancehall acts.
The US tour continues with performances in Houston Texas, Arcata California, Oakland California, Fairfax California, Miami Florida, long beach California, Chicago, Minneapolis, Bridgeport Connecticut, Springfield Massachusetts and other dates in May