Marion ministers, upset Tarrus leaves Salute
Although partially derailed by a backstage spat between singer Tarrus Riley and veteran deejay Anthony B, night one of Rebel Salute 2017, on Friday, still showed quality, despite fans feeling short-changed by Riley's actions.
A clearly peeved Riley, who had turned up at Grizzly's Plantation Cove, Priory, St Ann, with a full band ready to appear as the opening night's penultimate act, entered the stage during Fantan Mojah's performance and angrily declared that he was just 'dissed' backstage by a fellow artiste.
Despite being cajoled by Fanton Mojah, who clearly wanted Riley to perform for the fans, the singer just hung around for a few minutes before making his exit, not to be seen again for the night.
If Riley's cameo was disappointing, the performance by former dancehall hotshot Lady Saw, now Minister Marion Hall, dazzled. The fans saw a classy gospel act, which made a mockery of the days when Hall was easily dancehall's raunchiest.
While she still prowls the stage, the provocative style which entailed sexy gyrating and the grabbing of private parts was missing. In their place is a clear yearning to praise Jesus Christ and win souls for her newfound Christian faith.
"When I used to perform as a dancehall act, I used to go home and cry because I felt dirty," Hall explained. "Tonight, it different, I feel clean ... I can feel God directing me ... I know God has ordained me to be a minister of the gospel."
Initially clad in a simple blue dress, which was long enough to sweep the stage flooring, Hall was lyrically potent all the way, doing songs like Annointed, On Fire for Jesus, I Pay you Back, All for Jesus and I Will Not Worry. Hall said the last was inspired by reggae singer Bushman, who she claimed questioned her sincerity as a born-again Christian, alleging saying that "she was in the church seeking out her old-age pension".
In speaking on moral issues, firebrand performers Fanton Mojah, I-Wayne and Anthony B were all uncompromising, lashing out against many of the vices they claim are defiling society and undermining the virtues of their Rastafarian faith.
Hitting out against the elderly pastor who allegedly molested an under-age girl in St Elizabeth recently, Fanton Mojah performed Corruption and Only Jah Love. He later declared lyrically that the society was failing the people, as it Nuh Build Great Man and many persons are Hungry.
I-Wayne highlighted issues such as sexual abuse, abortion and men wearing tight clothing. The message was wrapped up in songs like Can't Satisfy Her, Lava Ground, Life Seeds and Book Of Life, with the artiste regularly stomping on the stage and chanting "lava!"
Although making no direct reference of his backstage spat with Riley, Anthony B was militant, making it clear that he is a lyrical warrior who fears only Jah. He had the fans at his mercy, opening up by reeling off Good Cop, Bad Cop, One Thing and Hurt the Heart, making it clear "only woman me clash wid".
With the path to sending home the patrons happy cleared, the lanky deejay, who spiced up his set with energetic dance moves, evoked fond memories of his early days, exciting with Mr Heartless, Fire Pon Rome, Raid De Barn and Not an Easy Road, in tribute to the incarcerated Buju Banton.