Phillip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts | UWI, St. Andrew
Firstly I must commend the Elysium team because this concert was heavily promoted, and as the days dragged on I grew even more excited. What surprised us all, was that everyday a new act was added to the flyer, I kid you not the lineup just kept growing, not like we were complaining. With such a long lineup we knew there was no way we would be out the theatre by 10pm.
I was not surprised by the late start simply because I’m yet to find a Jamaican concert that starts on time. In fact I was grateful for it because the concert was held on a Monday so I went there straight from work, I had a slim hour to reach on time. There was an announcement that the concert would be starting at 7pm instead of 6 so when I got up to UWI I hailed some friends, and chilled likkle bit before heading back to Phillip Sherlock; only to see a hella long line stretching from the door. Shawn and I joined the line and little by little we got closer to the door.
I had been in this theatre many times before and I don’t like it as a concert venue, but the chairs were nice and comfy, preparing us for what would seem like an endless concert. The host for the evening was the energetic Debbie Bissoon, she did a good job taking us throughout the show. The first act was someone new to me, Quada, he confessed that it was his first time performing with a live band, to me he rocked it though.
Next up was Girl, it was my first time seeing her perform and she stole my heart, I love off her voice, she definitely gained a new fan. Plus she is a great performer, she used up the stage, and gave her backup singers some shine as well. She was followed by Blvk H3ro (pronounced black hero) his set gave me so much life, he did not miss a beat, and he was all over the stage, at a point he had us wondering if he was going to mash up di people dem mic stand. To our pleasant surprise during the last song in his set he brought on Protoje, who joined H3ro in singing his song, Herb. Let me tell you, the place tun over when Proto came out.
Di Vibe was up next! It was my first time hearing about this band, the band is evidently full of talent, they started off with one of the backup singers taking center stage, serenating us with a Beres Hammond song. Then she switched places with another backup singer, their voices were different and set a nice groove. Finally the lead singer, Jeeby, came out introducing us officially to Di Vibe. I see it clear they’re gonna get far.
They were followed by a short intermission, when we resumed the Elysium team sent two of their members to honor Beres Hammond with a plaque, to show gratitude for his tremendous achievements in Jamaica’s music. The music started back with Runkus, he started off mellow but got into the energetic state that I always see (and love) from a Runkus performance. He brought Protoje back on stage to drop a few lines for the crowd and let me tell you the audience ate it up.
Next up was Ras I, the ladies loved him, and I nah go ’round it I love him too, his voice is like magic. How him move round so much with that head of hair though? He was followed by dBURNZ, the crowd went wild for him not only is he a great performer he’s well known about the UWI campus. With our energy still high, Dre Island was up next, the crowd was definitely lively for his set and even more lively when he brought on Kelissa & Chronixx, who gave us a little piece.
By this point it was well after 11, and the crowd was growing tired but we had come for the show and we neva did a leff ’til the party done. Agent Sasco a.k.a. Assassin graced the stage with high energy, it was so contagious, though tired the crowd found energy to respond to the older but hit songs he brought to us. He couldn’t end his set without singing a few songs off “The Theory of Reggaetivity” though. He was followed by Beenie Man, this was the first time I saw Beenie Man live, he is a joke embodied, he looked enthused with the way the crowd was reacting to him song after song. No one was seated during his set as you had to dance [wine up] to the classic dancehall songs he sang for us. I couldn’t even get a proper picture of him, he was never still, with some new breed a dancing dwl! I enjoyed his performance, and evidently so did the crowd, wherever he took pauses, you could hear the audience singing along, word for word. It was all fun until we saw the police officer heading on stage to Beenie.
The officer didn’t have to say a thing, we all knew what he was here to do, hence the crowd reacted by booing. I don’t know what it is but every show I go to with Sizzla Kalonji on the lineup, the police come to lock it off, either while he’s on stage or in this case, before he gets on stage. This threw the crowd into a noisy buzz, until the host came back on stage to appease us. She informed us that the show would go on. Some of the Elysium team members awarded Sizzla his plaque, and he headed straight into his set. The Fyah man tried to run through all the songs he prepared by singing a piece and cutting it short, then moving to the next. Though disappointed the audience blazed the fyah with him. This was Reggae Riot.
More photos in the gallery below.[click to enlarge]