Monday, July 29, 2013

Sumfest sizzles ... with smoking-hot performances

Symbolic of the Lion of Judah, Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley, blazed on stage, myriad flashing lights, bass pounding music and fiery backdrop videos heralding nothing short of an electrifying performance, closing the curtains on Reggae Sumfest 2013.

Marley signalled his intention very early in his performance, staking claim that for the third time in three years he had come to take the number-one position on International Night 2.

Combined, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and no other artistes on the 21st anniversary festival ignited the Catherine Hall venue with such precision, energy and vibrancy, without even lighting a matchstick.

Marley used stage performance, lyrical prowess and hits such as Set Up Shop and More Justice to bring the Reggae Sumfest crowd to their knees, with their hands suspended in the air, obeying his flag-waving, chanting frenzy. His energy punctuated every beat of his performance as he paraded back and forth on the stage, locks flashing and sweat dripping with every move he made. As if he wasn't already rocking the crowd with songs like Still Searching, Beautiful and others, Jr Gong got patrons even more riled as he brought guest performers Aidonia, Wayne Marshall and Assassin to perform their hit Go Hard, which, needless to say, garnered gun-finger salutes and screams from every direction. He then closed his session by performing his guaranteed crowd-pleaser, Welcome to Jamrock, which had everyone jumping and applauding, signalling that they were fully satisfied with his performance.

However, was Marley enough for an audience that believed in Summerfest Production's promise to please its supporters?


Yes, and no! His stellar act was complemented by a man many are convinced is the next 'Prince'. He goes by the stage name Miguel, but for females who stood transfixed in the crowd at Reggae Sumfest, he was the sexual healing missing from 2013.

Unambiguous from the beginning of his set, he didn't need to say much, it was obvious he came to please the fairer sex, and please he did. A bass-laden intro for Kaleidoscope Dream, along with endless screaming, ushered the singer on to the stage. As he pulled from his repertoire to perform songs such as Do You and Girls Like You, it was an enraptured audience that drank in every second of his smooth and seductive delivery as he knelt down on the edge of the stage to serenade his animated fans.

After trying his hand at a little reggae with Stir It Up, he resumed his lyrical cajolery with Quickie, proceeding to end his session with his biggest hit, Adorn, which had numerous ladies screaming and quivering from lyrical pleasure.

The other man on the show who had the audience in awe was Digicel Rising Star winner Romain Virgo, who rose to the occasion to give the lovers their turn with songs such as Rain Is Falling and Taking You Home. Virgo had little work to do as the audience did most of the singing for him through hits like Love Doctor and Live Mi Life. Other songs such as Who Feels It Knows It, Rich In Love, and his rendition of Adele's Don't You Remember got the patrons in a lyrical spell as his performance reached crescendo, each song getting a greater response than the previous. A profusely sweating Virgo culminated his session with Feel Like Letting Go, which left many fans unwilling to let go of him as he left the stage with a massive round of applause.


As if this was not enough musical magic in one night for the thousands at Catherine Hall, the bongo band No-Maddz delivered in fine form their lyrical and theatrical ingenuity, as they performed hits such as Take You To A Place and Rise Above Profanity, which had several patrons chanting 'poo pukku poo'.

No-Maddz was literally the icing on a cake baked with incredible talent, evidently existing right here in Jamaica.

Their set was followed by Chronixx, who blazed on the stage, while his band made it clear he was prepared to deliver nothing short of a militant performance. The rapidly rising star started off his lyrical mission with Start A Fire, which sparked the patrons' inner rebel. The militancy was further heightened when he chanted Behind Curtain, Naah Give Up and Odd Ras.

Obviously not a disappointing set, it was apparent that the artiste was also not in his usual form, but brought some life to the venue.

International Night 2 showcased performances from the likes of Berry; singer and fashion empress Ashley Martin; and the very talented Montego Bay Boys' and Girls' Club, who also had patrons dancing as they did their own renditions of popular songs.

The final performance for the night came from the band Chalice. Songs such as Stand Up, Good To Be There, Praising Him, Caravan of Love had the older crowd rocking in the early hours in the morning.

The 21st staging of Reggae Sumfest can easily be heralded as a success, leaving many patrons pleased with the line-up and eager to attend next year's 22nd staging.

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