Category Archives: VINCY MASS

Stranded on the Beach

Soca On the Beachsoca-on-the-beach-2

Rawacou Reciational Park

June 29th 2014

 

I have always enjoyed Island Network’s / Soca Dans’ Soca on the Beach; it has always had an atmosphere of freedom and a kind of leisurely fun.  Held on Rawacou beach, although a little hard to get to, once on the beach it’s all good.  The cast this year was promising and the local acts were joined by Denise Belfon and Fayann Lyons with the Asylum Band.

It was very rainy the entire day, and although the rain did hold up for a while during the late evening, I was still expecting some showers. Rain was the only thing I imagined would dampen the fun and as a friend always says ‘rain does only stop cricket’ so even that was minor.

I finally got to see Vicny Marshall and Mad Skull perform and they were both impressive. Especially Vincy Marshall, the ease with which he  interacting with the band and the audience was unexpected. The Hairoun Hit Squad was present minus Wiz Skid, who knows why he didn’t show. DJ 20 was fine but Royal was just not having a good night. Hypa 4000 also did his thing and the ladies loved his performance.

Luta and Hance were wondereful. Hance has some pretty good tracks that would have done much better with the right push.  Shaunelle was great and Fya Empress was really entertaining. Im not entirely fond of many of Empress’ tracks this year but her performance was on point. Problem Child was probably the best dressed cast member and he delivered with fresh energy as though Wet fete never happened.

Skinny Fabulous was quite the rage and to my delight his voice was sounding a whole lot better than it did that morning at wet fete.  Fireman’s performance was pure energy and was extended because the rain began to pour. He just kept at it till it had calmed enough for the next person to come on stage. I could imagine all his fans there were just delighted.

I was forced to listen to Sassy and Fayann from the shelter of a gazebo. They were OK, I suppose I wasn’t that impressed because I wasn’t able to see.  At this point the rain was just pouring down with no end in sight. I decided that it was now a good time to leave, as it was already some time after 1:00 a.m and the rain wasn’t about to let up. We weren’t the only ones either. This is where my entire Soca On the Beach experience went from win to ruin.

Island Network promised a shuttle service from the parking area (on the site of the international airport) to the beach and back. When we arrived, they insisted that we park in that area, as they were not allowing vehicles to go any further. The passenger van arrived fairly quickly to take us to the venue,  but now that we wanted to head back to the parking area there were no shuttles to be seen. Neither of the two buses were operating and no one we asked could confirm whether or not the so called shuttle would be returning to take us back to our car.

We decided to be patient.  Scores of patrons were already taking the hike through the rain and mud, but we trusted that Island Network would not leave us stranded, the bus had to come back … rite? Well we were wrong. After waiting for about an hour, a period in which the bus could have made about 4 trips to and from the venue we decided to brave the rain and muck and trek back to the car.

Words cannot adequately describe how furious we all were. If guided by our own intuition we would have parked closer as we had done in previous years. But we were told that no parking was allowed at the venue (although upon arrival we did see a few ‘special’ persons who were allowed to park down there). Why were we being forced to walk in the rain and mud back to the paring lot? where were the shuttles that we were promised? Why was it that no one knew what was happening? Island Network got some splaining to do!

It didn’t end there though when we finally got to the car wet, muddy and exhausted, the parking space was dark. The spotlights that were there when we arrived, were gone and it was difficult to see where the path lay to drive out of the area. Was this some sort of trap?  I wont be too quick to attend another Island Network event soon and especially not at Rawacou particularly if they insist that we cannot park where we choose to.

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More Water More Machel

H2O Soca:  Wet Fete   h201

Arnos Vale Sporting Complex

June 28th 2014

 

Wet Fete has the reputation of being one of the most epic shows for the season. This year it even made it onto the Official Carnival Calendar of events.   Hot 97 SVG in collaboration with LIME and Carib Beer brought us more water and more Machel. The headliner for Wet Fete over the years has been Machel Montano, so far it seems to be working but I don’t know how much longer I would be willing to go see Machel every year for H2O, but that’s just me, everybody else seems to be fine with it.

We got to the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex and parked without any fuss. We missed a few acts, some I didn’t really care for but I was disappointed I didn’t get there in time to see Mad Skull and Vincy Mashall.  The show was great. I stayed just out of reach of the range of the water but close enough to the stage to see comfortably.

The artists didn’t spend particularly long on stage, but this made for a very dynamic show, they were backed by the big bad band Kenetics.  Royal the first act we saw on stage, gave a good show. Hypa 4000 4000 4000 was great, full of energy and commanded the stage. I always love how he sounds almost exactly the same live as he does on record. So although he may not be the best vocalist on record by the time he performs the track, once you liked the song to begin with,  you aren’t disappointed because it doesn’t sound any different. Luta was also great, I have to admit, I wasn’t always a Luta fan but these days I’ve been really enjoying his performances.

Jamesy –P was also there to share his licks. His set was good, slightly lacking in energy but still up to standard. Demus was great his performance of ‘No Problem’ was a hit.  I got my money’s worth of fete when Problem Child hit the stage. This man dropped hit after hit from 19 how long, and when he got around to ‘No Discipline’ the entire venue went wild. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love that track, especially the intro; MAD!

Fireman gave his usual high energy performance. I had to run for cover when he sang ‘Unruly’, people simply rioted and I didn’t want to get hurt.  I was also surprised that he still got an insanely intense response when he performed ‘Spiritual’.  He also surprised us by crowd surfing in a huge bubble, it was awesome! I got the impression that this was really just a prop for the show and he was the only artist brave enough to try it out.  Fireman really engaged the crowd and gave an admirable performance.

Skinny was great, except he sounded extremely hoarse, I mean his voice was just not there. He demolished the venue with ‘No tomorrow’ and ‘Red Button’ but for me the state of his voice took away from his performance.  He even changed location and got high on a scaffolding in the middle of the Sporting complex; this brought him closer to his fans and was a definite plus for his set. I hope his voice heals in time for Soca Monarch.

Machel came on to close the show and partied with Wet Fete until the sun came up. He had with him Patrice Roberts who looked banging as usual, and his perpetually sexy dancers. Although his presentation this year was nowhere near as epic as last year, and it seemed he was having some issues with his band, it was still amazing. Machel is truly in a class by himself.  He brought The General back on stage and tore up the place a little more performing ‘Happiest man Alive’ and ‘Behaving the Worst’ together. It was all good and we were all pretty nice at this point.

There were also a few Dj’s on the show; Team Energy Overload, X and Dog Sounds and 2 Kool Chris. They all played a couple of times during the show, one of Team Energy Overload’s set sounded really similar to what they did for Black Rave but they did do a good job. For me though it was X and Dog who really put down for this show.

H2O Soca was a hit, people got wasted, the bars were well stocked and the food overpriced, the performances entertaining and Machel was super, the water was wet and the outfits were outrageous. What more could we ask for?

Kaiso Kaiso!!!!

Fantastic Friday: Calypso Semifinals

Photo taken from the official website of Vincy Mas 2014
Photo taken from the official website of Vincy Mas 2014

Victoria Park

June 27th 2014

 

Friday morning found me primed and ready for a long weekend of entertainment and revelry. I only got my Semis tickets that day, the young lady working at the CDC ticket booth in Heritage Square had no idea what “Semis” were and told me they didn’t have tickets.  It was only after I complained about having to get my tickets at the door later, did she correct me “Ooh you mean Fantastic Friday!” the urge to be rude was irresistible. Where do they find these people?

I’ve long stopped going to CDC shows for the competition factor. I no longer care who winds up in first place. I am happy for their accomplishments but I don’t get worked up about positions.  I go to be entertained and this year’s Calypso Semifinals wasn’t bad at all.

The night began with torrents of rain. We got there on time but were stuck in the overpriced parking lot for close to an hour because I forgot my umbrella.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, by the time the rain eased off enough for us to hustle over to Victoria Park, the show was just about to start.  We headed to the bar to get drinks. The show was promoted as a Hairoun Brewery drinks inclusive event, an idea our Prime Minster apparently didn’t like at all,   it was certainly one that  didn’t work out for me. I ordered malt and it was horrible. I couldn’t even finish my tiny glass of the brown liquid they were parading as Vita Malt, Frauds!

The show was not as well attended as last year but there were a number of very good songs. Vibrating Skates, one of my least favorite calypsonians wasn’t bad at all, I must admit.  Bump-I had quite the catchy number with “Sing Until Yuh Win”, this was a crowd favorite.  Abijah was  impressive, I think his presentation of “Invisible Man “is quite possibly the best I’ve ever heard from him. I also loved IPa’s song, the melody was refreshing and his delivery was great.  Patches was another crowd favorite with his track “Ring the Bell’ a political commentary that was not only entertaining but catchy,  his delivery  superb with top class arrangement and melodies.

Tajoe gave the judges nuff licks in his song “Ah Shame” he was quite good too but didn’t make it to the finals, perhaps because the judges felt insulted and this was their way of getting even.  Shaunell’s track “Calyspo Hard to Write” was just awesome. It was the first time many were hearing this track but they were already singing along. The woman is a powerhouse, she sounded pretty good for a singer sick and on medication. Mercy had a song we could all relate to, speaking of the woes of public transportation in “dem van drivers’. It was a very entertaining piece. Ranking Bas was also entertaining, his was one of the more upbeat calypsos and the crowd responded with much dancing and singing along.

John Dougan was pretty boring with this old nepotism argument in a song that seemed to be not properly thought out and atrocious delivery. Strong’s song wasn’t necessarily a bad one, but in my opinion it was too long and wasn’t really a song for the fans but a song for the judges.  It was beyond me how Denis Bowman was even selected for the Semifinals, his song “to build the airport” was lifeless and unimaginative.

One of the highlights of the show for me was the Roses Crew Reunion, with Fireman Hooper,   DJ 20 and Chain Saw. Their performance was wonderful although they had not rehearsed with the band, a testament to their chemistry. The soundtrack to some of my favorite Carnival memories includes Roses Crew songs and it was evident that they still have it. Their performance was done as a tribute to their lost member Rudy who passed away under tragic circumstances.  I believe though that it would have been appreciated by a different audience perhaps Soca Swing or something of that nature.

At the end of the show the results were announced and their were tears of joy and angry shouts of dissatisfaction. I congratulate all those who made it into the Finals and to the rest I have one piece of advice, like Bump-I say, sing until you win.

On July 6th these calypsonians would be competing for the  Calyspo crown at Dimanche Gras in Victoria Park;

Dennis Bowman .
Aurella ‘QueenB’ Beach .
Grantly ‘IPa’ Constance .
Kenneth ‘VibtatingSkates’ Alleyne .
Robert ‘Patches’ King .
Shaunelle Mckenzi .
Zamfir ‘ManZangie’ Adams .
Vivian ‘I-Com ‘Miller.
Lornette ‘FyaEmpress’ Nedd.
Elliot ‘Mystery’ Shallow.
Elvis “Abijah‘ Abbey.
RESERVES: Glenford ‘ Azara’  Charles

An Evening of Pan and Soca (Sort of)

South Leeward Rural Carnival: Pan and Soca ConcertImage

Dzia Night Club

21st June 2014

 

After an unfortunate incident, where a young man was killed during the ‘pre jouvert’ festivities (whatever that is) organized by the South Leeward Rural Carnival Committee, we were all worried about whether or not they would be allowed to have any more events this season. Our worries were put to rest when they announced an evening of Pan and Soca on the Dzia Nightclub Compound to be held on Saturday 21st. This was to be followed by another foam party later that evening and the Evening jump up the following day,  Sunday 22nd.

I quite enjoy pan, so naturally on Saturday evening the only place for me to be was inside Dzia in Questelles, to enjoy some of the best tuned pans around. Symphonix the resident steel band was to be our entertainment. Once again I was disappointed with the organization. We got there late and still had to wait about an hour for them to fully set up and start playing. When they did it seemed to be a run down and practice of their panorama songs instead of the mini steel pan concert I was expecting.  The idea was an excellent one. The execution however really needed some help.

We did get a taste of their senior panorama number ‘Ah Doh care’ by Winston Soso, which was a really fun arrangement indeed. I look forward to hearing them full and finished on Thursday July 3rd at Steel and Glitter. Their junior selection is a Black Sand favorite of mine ‘Get on Bad’ which they will be performing at Junior Pan Fest on Sunday June 29th.  I believe that the youngsters would play wonderfully at both events. I hope persons will come out to support them, although I have a feeling that turn out for Jr. Pan especially will be poor, due to that fact that it’s the day after Wet fete and the same day as Soca on the Beach. It would appear that the entire national festival (not just the Rurals) need some attention with regards to its organization.

The situation with the pan was somewhat frustrating and we didn’t stick around for the Soca segment. As far as South Leeward Rural Carnival goes, the most I can say is that it is known as one of the biggest and better Rural Carnivals but may soon lose that accolade due to poor preparation. I am aware of the challenges they face from the CDC in terms of Rural schedules, but  I’m hoping that perhaps they are just generally having a bad year and that next year there would be an improvement.

Soca Rave

raveb

Black Rave:The Golden Journey

Victoria Park

14th June 2014

 

After taking the girls to Uncle Skinny during the day, Saturday night was my time to rave out in Victoria Park. Stick Man Entertainment did it again, Black Rave was a hit.

There was a huge cast of artist both local and foreign. We arrived to catch Demus on stage. His performance of ‘Drinking Problems’ was so convincing, he always sounds drunk anyway, I love it.  Mad Skull was a favorite of mine, ‘Family’ is such a big song; one of the better songs for the season and he did it justice. I was a little disappointed with Wizz Skid’s performance, he has done better and I expected him to bring his A-game to the Black stage.

During Tamisha’s performance I realized that her new track, ‘Doh Mash It Up’ reminded me of Fya Empress’ ‘Rum Please’ and it dawned on me that she was not a part of the show. Something I found quite strange. I suppose there are many other shows to come and I can imagine that her fans look forward to seeing her on stage soon.

I was particularly pleased with Danielle’s set. It was truly a top class performance complete with pyrotechnics and choreographed dancers. Danielle seems to be on the top of her game this year. The little dancer she brought on stage during ‘Ah Rude’ was absolutely adorable right up until she turned her back to the crowd and started whining, that’s when it got slightly uncomfortable.

There were a number of dj’s on the show as well. The all played for about 10 minutes. The talent was pretty good. I was really impressed with Simple Sounds a duo from the Leeward side of the island. Their brand of performance juggling was quite entertaining. 2 Kool was in his zone playing soca and Team Energy Overload had one of the better intros for the night to their fast paced set. DJ Steven was the guest act. Official dj for Machel Montano and another Trini with Vincentian roots (Lyrikal’s dad is a Vincy), held his own and delivered quite an exciting set.

There was one huge problem though. The local dj’s played very little local songs. Granted the time was short and it was a show with quite a few artists on cast but honestly that’s no excuse I was just extremely peeved. This is our festival and we should push our music. We have scores of great songs that could be played. Aren’t they good enough? Honestly If I were a visiting Trinidadian I would be so proud see how music from my country was running Vincy Mas.

5 Star Akil gave us a surprisingly good performance, for some reason I wasn’t expecting much but I was impressed. Jamesy-P, dropped a bomb on the Rave stage. ‘Bang Them’ instantly connected with the people, this one is going to be a hit guys.  Hypa 4000 shared his stage with Skinny Banton the Salt fish president, whose entrance was somewhat anticlimactic. He engaged the crowd with a number if clever a-cappella verses before he delivered full blast his salt fish anthem.

Luta was great, what can I say, he is quite the consistent performer. Dressed in a brown tee for most of his performance, although not the only one  not dressed in black, I felt this was him just returning the courtesy to Skinny for showing up in grey for White on the Dock. I have to admit I was mildly amused. I see what you did there Luta. Edwin Yearwood was just magnificent he had the entire park partying our hearts out.

The show picked up pace with Fireman Hooper, a crowd favorite. Bunji Garlin and his Asylum band, regulars on Black Rave were just amazing. Bunji was great, he even took the time to point out to producer Kubiyashi that Vincys can get on bad to the slower paced soca tunes that he is known worldwide for. The crowd lost themselves to ‘Redlight District’, ‘Differentology’ and ‘ Carnival Tabanca’

Things got really interesting when Problem Child hit center stage. Problem’s live voice isn’t the best but the people love his songs. I was quite surprised when he invited Royal to join him on stage, as rumor had it that the head of the Ready Up Family was no longer on the show. I’m sure that ruffled some feathers and if you think that Problem has no blinking behavior and no discipline, then I’ll have to say that he told you so. I was thoroughly entertained and not just because of his stunt, Royal did a great job also. I could well imagine though, that not everyone was amused.

Skinny Fabulous and Lyrikal closed the show with a bang. Skinny painted the park red and lit up the atmosphere with good vibes. The crowd went wild, it was total madness.  He even bragged to the foreigners about how Vincentians “doh party norma’l”, the Soca Hooligans were having the best time with their General on stage.

Black Rave is now becoming a fixture in Vincy Carnival and a show that nobody wants to miss. Overall it was quite an awesome event.

 

 

 

 

Kids love their Uncle Skinny

Photo taken from I-Witness News
Photo taken from I-Witness News

Uncle Skinny’s Kids World

Victoria Park

14th  June 2014

 

This year Uncle Skinny Fabulous came back to Victoria Park on Saturday . Carnival City was transformed into a children’s fantasy world with games, bouncing castles, food stalls, water slides, go-carts, music and mascots. Colin Graham was the MC, he always does a fabulous job and DJ Captain John of Team Energy Overload provided the music. This would be our third year attending. I don’t do it for me, please believe, I do it for my girl and this year she brought along a friend. It’s always an exhausting experience for me and a fulfilled one for them, but worth every minute.

The fair was re-branded this year, formally known as ‘Uncle Skinny’s Kids Carnival’; the promoter now opted to go with ‘Uncle Skinny’s Kids World’. Quite the appropriate change I think, as it’s now a truer reflection of the event as a massive children’s fair, as opposed to a ‘kids Carnival’ as it may be interpreted in our culture. I had always found issue with the previous name due to the fact that it is held during our traditional Carnival season but really contained very little carnival components. I’m sure you can see the conflict there. It would be truly excellent however if aspects of our festival could be incorporated into the fair. I look forward to seeing the CDC or the future custodians of Carnival having discussions with the promoter to encourage this.

The girls came to my house around 10:00 a.m pumped and ready to rock, I was nowhere near ready to leave the house.  The morning was a tad bit rainy but nothing that would discourage us from going. We were among the first to enter the park, and my girl and her friend had a total blast. We like to get their early to avoid the enormous lines. I basically walked around with them, paying for stuff they bought and holding their winnings, making sure that they were safe and having a good time.

They got their face painted by Jasmine, one of the face paint artist, she did a fantastic job, the girls were just adorable. They played games and won a bunch of prizes. I ran out of space to put all the stuffed animals. Those kids have crazy accurate aim.  The stalls were more expensive than years gone by but I had anticipated this. The crowd wasn’t as big as the past years though, I suppose people are now more interested in the concert at the end of the day, than they are in the fair.  It wasn’t until about 3:00 p.m that people started flooding the venue just in time really for the concert which began at 5:00.

We didn’t get to take any pictures with the mascots, chiefly because the girls only wanted to hang with The Minions (my girls are cool) and they weren’t scheduled to come out until sometime after 4:00. We didn’t stick around for that. After they exhausted themselves on the trampoline and bouncing castle we had lunch compliments KFC’s Chickey then watched the go-cart races.  We made our way out of there after four hours of fun my bag and arms full of loot and the girls tired but happy.

We were not around for the concert this time but I’m sure it was quite the show, dancing mascots and Soca performances from various artists including Uncle Skinny himself. This year there was a cast of young performers, from violinist to dancers and singers. This, I’m sure was particularly good and quite a commendable move by Uncle Skinny. The concert at the end of Uncle Skinny’s Kids World has  always been  intensely fun and judging from the videos I’ve seen on instagram, they haven’t broken tradition.

Stubbs Jump Up: Epic Fail

Stubbs Evening Jump UP
Stubbs Evening Jump UP

Stubbs Evening Street Jump Up

9th June 2014

Stubbs

 

What transpired on the main road between Diamond and the Stubbs Playing Field on Whit Monday was absolutely unacceptable. Dj’s are making a mockery of the festival and it makes me angry. That had to have been the worst jump up I’ve ever been to. By all accounts I should have gone to North Leeward or to Beliar if I wanted a good jam.

First off the system on the truck was subpar. Perhaps they couldn’t help it; maybe it was all they could afford. I don’t know, but even this would have been overlooked if the quality of the jump up was better.

My primary problem had to do with the music being played. There were supposedly DJs on the truck but it seemed like someone was just playing a few tracks from their ipod Shuffle, repeating the same short playlist over and over. This year a large number of high quality tunes were released but only a handful were played on the road.

We consistently ask artist to produce higher quality sound and better content and for the most part they have delivered. This is why I am still struggling to understand what could have caused the Djs on the truck to play only 4 or 5 tunes from this year. Everything else was either Trinidad Soca or songs from years gone by. And let’s not talk about this ‘Peel banana’ nonsense, Milo was allowed to assault our ears on the truck for entirely too long. Why? Why demand that artists step their game up, only to  promote instead this kind of foolery, or to ignore their efforts altogether?

I love Red Button, but Lord Gosh guys!!! Are they aware that there were other songs produced this year? Please don’t make me tire of a perfectly awesome song. One would think that you would hear ‘Ride it’, ‘Ready for the Road’ and other Fresh Kid tunes. In fact I expected to hear him giving it to us live and direct from the truck. He is from that area after all, he was right there chipping behind the truck. Sadly such an obvious move was not made.

Its Vincy Mas 2014 isn’t it? That means that we came on the road to party to all the new Vincy soca that we have grown to love over the past few weeks. Apparently this is some sort of challenge to dj’s. Why do I have to go to a Carnival Jump Up and endure P- Square, or a bunch of old foreign tunes. The most unfortunate thing about the whole situation is that it’s not unique to the Stubbs Jump Up but seems to be quite the thing these days.

It was so bad that many persons simply walked out of the jam and left. For many of us going home was a better choice and I would have, if I were not so determined to see what would take place once we reached the Playing Field. I paid dearly for that curiosity because believe me, that would most likely be my last visit to Stubbs for any reason, especially to party. I can’t deal with Stubbs and it’s residents. What went on at the venue was almost as bad as what transpired on the road getting there, the nonsense simply continued on the Playing Field.

This is our Carnival; we all must hold ourselves to a certain standard. Dj’s, artists, producers and patrons alike are just as responsible for the components of the festival as any Carnival Cooperation. If my Stubbs Jump Up experience was any indicator of the state of affairs, then we are worse off than I thought.