I’m late with my posts. Sorry. Better late than never but never late is better. It’s been quite a while but we’re back! Lots of overdue content to cover starting with MACHEL ON THE BEACH AKA CARIBBEAN BEACH FEST!
Sunday July 8th marked the inaugural Caribbean Beach Fest at the Nikon Jones Beach theater . The venue was filled with nothing but pure VIBES. It was humid and sticky, what felt like the hottest day of the summer slowly cooled down as a nice sea breeze made its way through the venue making it much more bearable.
I’ll refrain from reviewing the concert and giving a play by play as my memory is a bit hazy from this event. For the purpose of this entry I’ll just blame it on “old age.” Here are some quick highlights/notes:
I-Octane was the first opening act warming up the audience up with songs like “One More” and “Love.” Shortly after dancehall superstar Cham and his wife O slayed with crowd pleaser hits “Tun Up,” and “Wine. ” When O opened with the hook for “Tun Up” the audience went MAD. I can tell that was definitely the summer anthem for some ladies there that night.
Mr. Machel Montano HD then took to the stage opening with my favorite “Bottle of Rum.” Again I could be making this up because I really don’t remember the setlist. Note to self: take notes during/ after the concert. Mental notes will not suffice. I found the audience to be too tamed for a soca concert. After attending several Machel concerts I expect nothing less than jamishness. (For my non Carib folks it simply means when you are overcome with revelry, as we Trinis say ‘when you free up yourself’). Then again the level of jamishnnes I anticipated could have been limited by security at the venue. Being the vertically challenged individual that I am in addition to having no behavior at these types of events I vaguely remember security telling me to stop standing on my chair.
Favorite non-Machel performance of the night was Patrice Roberts and Kerwin DuBois’ “I am Soca.” (I lovvvee groovy soca). This is the first time they performed this song together in the States.
My only gripe is that the concert was way too short! During his set Machel complained about the time limit joking “why dey does always try to run me off .” However he did not let this hinder him from putting on an amazing show. In typical Machel fashion his set was a high energy repertoire of 30 years of hits! Songs like “Footsteps”, “Big Truck” and “Toro Toro” to name a few. I grew up listening to Machel, “Big Truck” came out when I was around the age of 7/8. To this day when you hear that song performed live it feels like the first time that you heard it. The man creates timeless music.
It is impressive that he consistently puts out great music in all three genres: power soca, groovy soca, and the newly evolving pop/dance music infused soca.Let’s face it soca can get pretty redundant with messaging like where yuh rag where yuh flag type songs. People gave Machel a lot of
shit this past Carnival season when he took home the triple crown (he currently holds 3 titles as Power Soca Monarch winner, Groovy Soca monarch winner, & Road March winner) claiming that the competition was rigged in his favor. Keeping it 100, I was no fan of “Pump Yuh Flag” BUT when I saw him perform it at soca monarch he had the best production, better delivery than the other competitors hands down. He stepped up the level of his stage shows, took his overall artistry to another level. Machel is raising the quality and expectations of soca on an international level. I can respect that. Salute!
Big shout out to Foreign Bass Entertainment, the promotions group responsible for bringing Caribbean culture to this venue for the first time ever! Next year I want to see the entire upper level of the Nikon Jones Beach theatre sold out.
For those that missed Machel this time around he will be back around Labor Day weekend. Stay tuned for more details.