Forget the name De First Citizens/Digicel Big Show; it’s really the Biggest Show!
by Wade Gibbons
One had to be at the Sea Rocks Dome of the Barbados Beach Club last night to truly appreciate the fabulous fare on offer. Proceedings started on a high note and ended with the venue in an uproar as the Mighty Grynner left fans in a frenzy
The veteran who has graced the local stage for more than four decades moved the audience to leave their chairs with the first strains of his Turn On De Speaker. Then, true to the lyrics of the song, Grynner had young and old dancing and jumping at the front of the stage, through the aisles, behind the bar, inside the latrine, at the exit, on the lawn, wherever there was space. It was pure energy. Barbados’ road march maestro has another hit on his hands.
Fewer than 30 minutes before Grynner’s explosive ending, Damian Marvay put down a performance that alone was worth the admission fee. His Know The Face is as beautiful a piece of dance music to have come out of Barbados in decades. It has a delightful, infectious melody, its lyrics resonate and Marvay has a voice to envy. Indeed, management over the next few weeks could consider interchanging the closing act between Marvay and Grynner. It’s a win-win situation.
Maintaining the excellent quality of the party music was Ian ”iWeb”
Webster with Big Up, his tribute song to the calypsonians, musicians and entertainers in general who have brought the Crop Over festival from its infancy to where it stands today. He also rendered a selection entitled Rights that is sure to garner a response from Colin Spencer.
As social commentary goes, the best female voice in Barbadian calypso returned to the stage last night with a bang.
TC is a class act and she sizzled with both That Golden Age and Tek Wuh Yuh Get. Her rendition of the first song was a joy where she laid bare her vocal range to telling effect. Her’s was one of many songs in celebratory mode over Barbados’ imminent attainment of 50 years of Independence. But none was better than this. Her second song upped the tempo significantly and suggested to complaining Barbadians that any failings they wanted to ascribe to the current Government was as a result of their vote and she would not be their critical mouthpiece this time around.
Jamal Slocombe is a prodigious young talent and gave evidence of this with two confident renditions of Be A Politician and New Normal. While the first song took the customary calypsonian’s dig at politicians, the second highlighted several areas of negative social conduct that had slowly become the norm. With the material at his disposal the young man should be a strong contender for the Pic-O-De-Crop semifinals.
Adrian Clarke, a newcomer to the tent, immediately showed what a steal he was for the already swollen talent base in his new home. His 49 Not Out was one of the songs of the night. It looked at Barbados’ journey since 1966 while being driven from the perspective of a batsman and was enhanced by some exceptional vocals. If his What Is A Politician in the second half was not quite in the same class, especially in terms of melody, it was still worthy enough to complete a good night for the former calypso monarch.
Adonijah impressed with That Is A Bajan and Bashment Commentary while Mistah Dale’s Put It Down in the first half and party number Nothing Sweeter in the second were excellent performances. His exhortation in the first half to the youth was to put down the guns, drugs and violence, and pick up a trade and some education instead.
On a night when the tent’s brimming cup literally flowed over, Crystal Cummins-Beckles with the uplifting This Is What Barbados Means To Me and Hall Of Fame that celebrated the achievements and contributions of many Bajans, maintained the stellar outpourings delivered.
Reigning calypso king Classic thrilled the fans with Technology, a clever song that looked at people’s preoccupation with cellular phones, computers, and the like, while associating aspects of the related jargon with some of our politicians – Freundel placed on silent, Chris on a taxation website and Mia’s megabytes. He also rendered the melodic Ease Up.
For cheekiness, and a touch of sauciness, there was none better than Nathalie and her catchy Bag OF Toys that suggested she needed no boys when they could be replaced with certain contraptions. The women in the audience loved it.
It was a case where the quality entertainment never stopped. Biggie Irie with his Money Well Spent, Mikey and his Jamming Company, Imani with Never Forget You, Pompey and his Do Something and Leah with Never Give Up, completed a terrific package.
And it was enhanced by exceptional accompaniment from the backing band.
The emcee was the inimitable Mac Fingall.