Taddy P leads with bass, Laro with lyrics - Bassline ends with a jam at Redbones
Bass guitar player Taddy P and singer Lord Laro were the performers advertised for Friday's Bassline at Redbones Blues Cafe, New Kingston, but several vocalists also contributed to a night where there was a strong sense of community. In that vein, Bassline ended with a jam session, in which the microphone was passed around among the vocalists as rhythms were played for extended periods and songs - expected and unexpected - laid on them.
A major part of urging the impromptu addition on was Tanya Stephens, who had been involved in Taddy P's closing rhythm, doing Heart of Stone to the delight of the large audience.
"Is Ochi me drive come from. Oonu better jam!" Stephens warned when there was a sign of faltering as the night came to a close.
Among the 'jammers' was Kerine Montaque, who had been a major part of Taddy P's presentation, her vocals often alternating in lead role on the same song. Chevaughn had also done some singing in Taddy P's set and, along with Sherieta Lewis and Anna Mariah (a top three contestant in this year's 'Rising Stars' competition), were part of the jolly jam session, for most of which Michael Fletcher took over the bass guitar.
Well before the ending spontaneity of song, though, the presence of trained voices and musical harmony had been evident in the singalong to some of Laro's songs. And in Taddy P's set, many popular artistes were represented in his leading bass and Kerine's vocals.
In numbers, the band was small - a keyboard player, a drummer and the bass - Chevaughn singing "we came to party" and Taddy P putting a swaying body and swinging dreadlocks into his lead sections.
Leading Jah Cure's When I Find That Girl, Taddy P moved to and fro on the stage, Kerine sharing Sizzla's Give It a Try with the bass player before transitioning to "loving you is easy because you're beautiful".
Taddy P went uptempo with I'm Happy, the hands going up as mandated as Kerine sang, "everybody hands go up." Sean Paul's Gimme the Light was a merry bounce before Stephens joined Taddy P to bring up intermission with Heart of Stone.
After intermission, the bass player did not leave the stage, as Taddy P became part of the three-man outfit for a hilarious Lord Laro, who started out with Tempo. Laro was engaging, connecting his songs with a running narrative and connecting with his audience through a consistent smile and dance moves which sometimes reflected the raunchy material he delivered to a gleefully receptive crowd.
He also gave some facts about his songs, saying that Tempo, was composed in 1985. "It became number one in Trinidad," Laro said, noting that it was "mixed with the Jamaican reggae". And, throughout his performance, Laro continued the Caribbean blend of Trinidadian and Jamaican sounds and themes, following Tempo with Foreign Press.
Members of the audience sang along to the chorus of the song about biased portrayal of the Caribbean in media external to the region.
There was laughter at Lord Laro's wordplay, rehearsing for a sexual encounter with a lady of large appetite to "orange, cherry, corn plum plum". In the end, though, all the woman wanted was the "plum plum", Laro gesticulating with a straight arm and clenched fist pumping downwards.
It was back to a Jamaican flavour with observations on the ladies' fascination with Natty Congo, which Laro became as his staid appearance did not impress them. Oh Carolina was given rollicking, rambunctious treatment by the crowd and Laro gave a nod to Marley with Stir It Up, on which the quality of harmony from the audience was evidence of a talented unity.
Laro earned an encore, then came the jam which ended with a request from Stephens (who acknowledged Lord Laro and Lord Kitchener as two of her song writing influences) that Lewis do Finally. Lewis did the song about escaping an unhealthy, abusive relationship a capella beautifully, to bring Bassline to an end.