Big show does justice
De First Citizens, Digicel Big Show lived up to its name on Sunday night, as the tent pitched at The Sea Rocks Dome in Maxwell, Christ Church.
From the outset, based on the line-up of veterans and former monarchs on the card, including People’s Monarch, it was clear that this tent, which first opened in 2007 as a vintage show, would offer itself as no walkover.
In the cast, you have former Pic-O-De-Crop Monarchs John King, Serenader and Red Plastic Bag. You have the perennial Adonijah, TC, Classic and Pompey. And you have also the legends of the Party, Groovy, and Sweet Soca competitions in the likes of Edwin, Biggie Irie, Natahlee and Mikey. Mix them all in with the up-and-coming brigade that includes Leah and Imani, and you have the makings of a full night of entertainment.
Promptly at seven, bandleader Bernard Yearwood struck the first note before a packed house. It was clear these musicians meant business, as after the National Anthem, MC Mac Fingall took them through their paces to ensure the sound was crisp and that everyone was relaxed and ready for what was to come.
First out was the young 22-year-old Leah, who has been with the tent since she was 16. Showing poise in presentation, she put in good performances of her songs, in particular, Stereotype that spoke to the danger of jumping to conclusions.
“Stereotype always be deceiving; says nothing to the character within. You should never forget to remember you can’t judge a book by the cover,” she declared.
Pompey, while his mind may have been kerfuffled by the Bumper Craze, was more concerned about the serious issue of Human Trafficking, declaring that this form of modern-day slavery was a curse on human beings.
The plight of the marginalized was the focus of Adonijah’s first song. Titled De Poor Can’t Take No More, this veteran calypsonian tells the story of many Barbadians who are frustrated by a lack of employment or finances.
“You seeing the faces of frustrations, 200 more get send home they say . . . and the ruling class they falling fast so they squeezing out every drop. Poor people sucking salt, hold some strain; the people can’t take no more pain” he sang, declaring that if action wasn’t taken soon to address this problem, very soon “de people here will rise”.
Michael Mikey Mercer, more known for his prowess in the Party, Sweet Soca and Groovy Soca genres, is for the first time trying his hand at social commentary; and he sings about the need to end domestic violence –– violence in all forms –– with calls for all to Turn Up The Love.
He also says there is a need to have a Time Fuh We in his second song, which looks closely at the “I” mentality, where everyone is for himself or herself only.
TC, who has been dubbed the People’s Queen, sang about Morning And Evening, in which she looks at how things said in one instance change, depending on the circumstance. Her performance, though, suffered a slight setback as she forgot the words to the calypso.
Forever the consummate performer, she did not let this deter her, and, after asking the band to “bring it low”, and admitting she had drawn a blank, took it from the top again, much to the pleasure of the audience who applauded her for her forthrightness –– and also upon getting a little bit more of the song.
Biggie Irie sang about the effect soca was having on his body in Pankatang.
“I guess they inject me liver, bury it in meh soul, ’cause no matter day or hour I always in soca mode.”
These lyrics had the packed dome swaying and calling for an encore. This composition by Jason “Shaft” Bishop, who wrote his Need A Riddim last year, is one to watch in the competition.
Classic was another who got an encore on the evening with his I Ain’t Come Here Fuh Dat. Described as the perennial semi-finalist, he declared: “If I gotta kiss up, suck up or get touch up, I ain’t go do nutting like that. I come here to tell them flat, I ain’t come here fuh dat.”
John King, in his the social commentary Mr AG, says there is too much crime and violence in Barbados and now is the time for the Attorney General to address the problem.
His love for pan takes centre stage in Pure Magic in which tells of his love affair, of sorts, with the steel pan and how its sweet rhythms have been accepted into the Barbadian musical landscape. It was an exceptional performance that had the crowd wanting more.
Imani on the Bacchanal Road, Natahlee with I Own It, Mistah Dale with Stressless, RPB bringing Dat Is Why and Serenader observing Fine Ants On De Pork were the icing on the cake
Judging night for De Big Show is July 1.