Thu | Aug 24, 2017

Abrupt end to overloaded Sting 2015

Published:Monday | December 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Professor Nuts
Pinchers in action at Sting 2015.
Burru Banton
Tiger (left) got in only a line or two as he performed with Malvo and Johnny P.
Tony Curtis delivered hit after hit at Sting 2015.
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Sting 2015 came to an abrupt end just past 6 a.m. yesterday at Jamworld, Portmore, St Catherine, with Beenie Man and Elephant Man among the billed headline acts who did not perform, in addition to a touted Ninja Man, Gully Bop and Merciless 'three-the-hard-way', a follow-up to their encounter at last week's Ghetto Splash.

Vershon and Innovator were among the brighter younger prospects who did not get any stage time.

It did not help that the person on stage when the police lock-off order was delivered by MC Nuffy had earned the displeasure of an audience which, although far from large, was enough to save Sting 32 from the ignominy of being a total flop. The extensive VIP area was well populated, with scatterings of persons behind the fence, especially to the left side facing the stage.

Female deejay Scarface was into her second piece, although she had already attracted impatient handclaps from some members of the audience during her first. Still, she pressed on with the same theme, with a line from Lady Saw that she would not perform on stage now. When MC Nuffy announced "the officer say it done", initially, it was not clear if he meant Scarface's performance or the entire concert, as previously there had been an advisory about explicit lyrics.

It was soon clear that the shutdown was of the entire event, and there were many loud complaints as members of the audience drifted away. However, the expression of anger was restricted to words, not action, and all was peaceful in the Sunday morning dawn, where a flock of white birds soon replaced - or probably outnumbered - the persons who had watched Sting 2015 from the rear of the outfield.

Sting had been about to go into its morning surge, Scarface preceded on stage by Stylysh (a tale of disparate lengths) who relied as much on her image of long, blonde tresses as a short, bubbling lady to make an impact on the audience. It was a dip after an all-too-brief showing by Professor Nuts.

So much so that when the audience demanded that Nuts return, the grinning deejay had to turn down a request for Jimmy Bascombe, as it was too long, cutting a lyric about an encounter with Big John's lady - and, eventually, Big John - short.

At that point, Nuffy said that the officer was allowing a little leeway, but it was not enough, as a Sting overloaded with performers hit the time limit.

It was the end of a long event in which the moments when the stage action really connected with the audience were all too sparse. For while much of the critical pre-dawn time was utilised to present a slew of entertainers who had made an impact mostly in the 1980s and early 1990s in tag-team format, in many cases, the hit parade was less effective on stage than it promised on paper. This was due to two factors - the obvious rush by the organisers, which resulted at times in atrociously abbreviated performances (Tiger got in only a line or two when he performed with Malvo and Johnny P); and some performers not sticking to the 'tune for tune' format.

This led to a jumble of voices at points and, in one of the earlier combinations, Little John laying down the law to Courtney Melody, as John and Pinchers' tracks, as well as some of Melody's, hit home.

GOODCOMBINATIONS

That turned out to be one of the better combinations, as did the one with Louie Culture (who followed Terror Fabulous' opening Gangsters' Anthem with Bogus Badge) and Frisco Kid/Ancient Monarchy, whose Rubbers has lasted. However, for his many popular songs, Fabulous did not get enough microphone time.

There were moments, especially from Lady G, when the ladies had their combination turn, Lady P and Junie contributing to the action. Tony Curtis, who had "high grade" flowing through his head, had a good run along with long-time musical tag-team partner Jigsy King.

However, Black-er and Squiddly Ranking enjoyed far less audience support, while an organised Lizard and Flourgon plugged away, with material from the deceased Red Dragon to boot, but did not connect as much as they deserved. The same happened in large part to Junior Cat, Silvercat and Terry Ganzie, as well as the trio of New Kidz, Alozade and Chico. Mackerel's squeak contrasted well with the gravel of Burru Banton's voice, although the former insisted on extending his stage time. Mr Lexx and General B scored more with extended lyrics than their established recordings.

Unfortunately, Tabitha and Addy Dallas were affected by sound issues at several points in what would have turned out to be a strong joint showing. The Japanese duo, Ackee and Saltfish, were rib-ticklers in a very brief showing.

The pitchy-patchy form and reception also applied to the individual performers, resulting in Sting 2015 not hitting the consistency required to make for a sustained good experience. On the good side, in the earlier going, Animosity showed promise, ending his set with an acapella lyric which included, "you can kill the prophet but not the prophecy"; Bunny General sneered at the men sexually involved with goats, to the audience's amusement; Ricky Teetz had a glimmer of promise before his vocals went bad on a tribute to friends who have passed on; Mr Cool's lyrical strength overcame his lack of vocal inflection; and Sophia Brown's set was short but consistently good and controlled.

Half Pint's strong set, starting with Greetings and continuing with Mr Landlord and Substitute Lover (although there was musical misery on One Big Family) could have been a platform for Sting 2015 to secure firm footing, but the subsequent inconsistency let the moment down. Young Flex, Maestro Don and Guidance had decent turns, while Turbulance closed on a strong Notorious note.

Ironically, by far one of the better extended performances came in recorded music, through a tribute to Buju Banton presented by Sky Juice, in which he covered from Destiny to Driver, among a number of other songs. Hottaball presented the Kartel tribute, and Flava Unit played in between live sets.

Curfew and Ruff Kut bands played, and the Sting organisers lived up to their promise of a motorcycle giveaway in the earlier stages of the concert, the winners collecting on stage.