MoBay Jerk Fest a bellyful of laughter, entertainment
Adrian Frater, News Editor
While hometown hero Ryme Minista got crazy love from the ecstatic fans, it was the velvet-smooth Romain Virgo who stole the spotlight as the 2014 staging of the Montego Bay Jerk Festival unfolded in a blaze of glory before a massive crowd at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in the western city on Friday night.
Virgo, who became the darling of the Jamaican ladies when he walked away with the 2007 Digicel Rising Star title as a precocious 17-year-old, showed the fans at the LIME-sponsored event that he had now entered the realms of the super stars, thrilling them with a hit-laced set, which elicited much "ohhs and ahhs", in addition to wild screams.
It was a case of sweet lyrics falling on fertile ground, as Virgo majestically reeled off songs like Rain is Falling, Love Doctor, Caa Sleep, Nuttin Nah Gwaan, and I Know Better in a dazzling opening salvo. He then sealed the deal, putting the proverbial icing on the cake with Letting Go and Way Too Beautiful.
Virgo all but brought the house down as he went super soulful, belting out Marvin Gaye's Let's Get it On and then closing with his mega hit Don't You Remember, which had the fans transfixed under his musical power.
Clad in military-style outfit with a matching backpack and black 'monkey mask' exposing only his eyes, the lanky Ryme Minista, who hails from the Glendevon area of the western city, showed why he is being hero-worshiped in many communities across St James, as he delivered an impressive performance.
Ryme Minista hit the stage like an assassin on a special mission. He had the crowd deejaying like a well-schooled choir as he 'bussed' the place with his predominately gangster/gun lyrics.
As was expected, when Ryme Minista exited the stage, there were more deafening screams of "more, more" that prompted him to return for a well-deserved encore. After chit-chatting with the fans about falling into some of the filthy situations now permeating the society, the clearly thrilled deejay ended his stint with Right Yasso and his popular High Grade song.
Former Vybz Kartel protégé Popcaan, who was asked to close the show, proved to be a good choice as he showed class, composure and a capacity to thrill, belting out a compelling set. Despite taking the stage well after midnight, he had the crowd fully energised as they sang and danced along with him. In the end, the deejay left no doubt that he has moved out of the shadows of his jailed mentor, as he held the crowd until he exited the stage.
Prior to the exploits of the big guns, the crowd also got high-quality performances from the likes of Kalado, western Jamaica-based singer Miguel Antonio, the Ocho Rios-based comedic singjay Grampa Entertain, singjays Chilando and Furious, and gospel star Joan Flemming, who was lyrically compelling.
In between the artistes, the crowd got a taste of real comedy as the duo of Ity and Fancy Cat, who were at their very best, poked fun at all and sundry, to include Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and deejays Bounty Killa and Tifa. They connected extremely well with the fans, who revelled in their jokes.
Perhaps the most revealing act of the night was the magician, Magical Melody, who left many patrons wondering if their eyes were playing tricks on them, as he made things appear and disappear. When he somehow managed to relieve a young female patron of her bright red underwear, a mixture of laughter and amazement gripped the venue.