WESTERN FOCUS - 'Off Tha Wall': Short, sweet and rainy
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Last Saturday night's 'Bellaz & Afro' edition of the semi-annual party, 'Off Tha Wall' was quite a unique affair, as due to the inclement weather in western Jamaica, the party started late and ended early.
However, for the patrons who braved the weather and made it to the Pier One complex, the event will perhaps go down as one of the treasured memories of the 'Off Tha Wall' series - short, sweet and chockfull of excitement.
"This one (Off Tha Wall) was special, trust me. I had to brave the rains to get to Pier One and, after four hours of musical madness, there came the rains again ... but trust me ... it was really worth it," said Ann Malcolm, a long-standing fan of the retro party.
With just about half of the space inside the seaside venue populated, and the moon battling with the dark ominous-looking clouds overhead, one could understand why many of the regulars had chosen to stay away. However, promoter Nash 'DJ Turbo' Lawson seemed determined to reward those who had turned out to soak up the music of the 70s, 80s and 90s.
With the product of the sponsors Stone's Ginger Wine, and other popular alcoholic beverages flowing generously among the patrons, DJ Turbo sent the party into overdrive just after midnight, unleashing classy songs from the likes of Super Cat, Ninja Man, and Red Dragon, whose hit song Fresh resonated with the fans, who stood boldly in the persistent drizzle.
It was all fun and frolic as the drizzle seemed to add a special glow on many of the afro wigs, especially those under the multi-coloured spotlights, which the promoters regularly used to create a nightclub-like atmosphere on the outdoor lawn.
With more patrons - who had, seemingly, responded to telephone calls from fans in the venue that the party was still on - pouring into the venue, DJ Marvin, who shared the control tower with DJ Turbo and DJ Jessie, cooled the pace somewhat, giving lovers a chance to cuddle through a string of R&B lovers' rock classics.
DJ Jessie took charge
With the drizzle easing somewhat, DJ Jessie took charge, unleashing a volley of deejay classics to include Big Youth's I P Thee and Shabba Ranks' dancehall anthem Love Punany Bad, which all but brought the house down.
With very little attention being paid to the ebb and flow of the drizzle, DJ Turbo returned to the control, and after stating emphatically: "Now me know who are the real 'Off Tha Wall' fans", he ran the gamut, moving seasoned professional, mixing reggae, dancehall and R&B, to stunning effect.
However, shortly after 3:30 a.m., the rains finally won out as a heavy downpour sent patrons scampering to the vehicles in the car park. The laughter of the running patrons suggested they considered the bad weather a part of the fun.