I-Octane, Popcaan and Spice dazzled
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Western Bureau:Dancehall stars I-Octane, Popcaan, Konshens, Khago, Cham and Spice were among the outstanding performers as the 2012 edition of Reggae Sumfest started on Thursday night in Montego Bay, with an enterprising Dancehall Night at the Bob Marley Entertainment Centre.
In terms of crowd response, Khago and I-Octane were the stellar acts, firecrackers and flaming aerosol lighting up the skies, at times to contentious effect, as they reeled of dazzling lyrics.
I-Octane, nattily attired in a black outfit, which matched his flowing dreadlocks, was commanding on songs like Mama You Alone, Lose A Friend, We Love the Vibes, and his latest smash single, Missing You.Khago, whose dreadlocks also blended neatly with his red and black outfit, was brilliant with Hot Fi Dem, Tax Inna My World, Gangsta Galis, Nah Sell Out, and Caa Cool.
Popcaan, who came to the fore as a sidekick to the now-incarcerated Vybz Kartel a few years ago, showed maturity and left very little doubt that he is now ready to hold his own among the big guns.
It was all velvet-smooth as the young deejay elicited screams of appreciation as he belted out songs like Roll Out, Bad Mind, Up Inna Di Club, Raving and Party Shot.
Konshens, chocked full of confidence, took the venue by storm in a set he shared with singer Ritchie Stephens and a bevy of sexy dancers.
He showed clear signs that he is ready to embrace international stardom. In fact, he was like a seasoned general as he ruled over songs like Ghetto Anthem, Bad Gal, Do Sumn and Whine Inna Di Road.
The charismatic Cham was all class and versatility, delivering a sublime set which included his singing wife, O, who grabbed some of the spotlight.
In fact, when Cham's wife joined him for their current hit collaborations, Wine Up Yu Body and Tun Up, Cham had already had the fans eating from the palm of his hands, Ghetto Story, Vitamin S and Drop It Like Yu Doing It, among the slew of well-received songs.
While the promoters officially crowned Lady Saw as the 'Queen of the Dancehall', it was the lyrically astute Spice, who was the undisputed star among the female acts.
In fact, while she did not attract any aerial fireworks, she was probably just as potent as the male acts who got that treatment.
Arriving at centre stage in a cart drawn by a muscular male, the inimitable Spice, attired in fairy-tale princess-like garb, combined sweet lyrics with provocative dancing as she worked herself up to a much-deserved encore.
From the thought-provoking Jim Screechy, through to songs like Mi Body Great, Rampin' Shop and a medley of Jamaican classics, including Oh Carolina, Simmer Down and Nanny Goat, Spice was simply awesome.
While clearly not on par with Spice, Lady Saw and Tifa both represented well for the ladies, delivering well-received sets.
Lady Saw was good enough to earn an encore as she expertly belted out Walk Out, Wife and Mate and Tickets Fi DJs.
In her encore, she came close to the raunchy, edgy side of her persona, delivering a medley, which included songs like It's Raining, Eh Hem and one which title cannot be mentioned here.
Veteran deejay Beenie Man, who closed the show, and his long-time nemesis, Bounty Killer, both played fairly decent sets which, in some ways, reminded fans of the days when they ruled supreme on Dancehall Night.
Beenie Man, who shared his set with several acts, including West Indies cricketer Dwayne Bravo, was quite generous in digging into his hit-filled catalogue and coming up with classics such as Memories, Dude and Okay.
Bounty Killer, who shared his set with singer Richie Stephens, was far from cross, angry and miserable, though he made it clear there was no love lost between himself and the homosexual community. The 'Killer' also used the Sumfest stage to re-establish himself as the poor people's governor.
Hometown act Tommy Lee, who much was expected of, received the love that homegrown acts can expect, but in truth, he, along with Aidonia, who was the penultimate act, failed to measure up.
Tommy Lee did, however, show enough promise to suggest that he has the capacity to come good with time.
Clash king KipRich and Romain Virgo were not at their vintage best, but their undeniable class came through nonetheless.
KipRich was quite good on songs like Telephone Ting and Bun fi Bun, while Romain Virgo's mastery came through on songs like Rain is Falling, Taking You Home and System.
Among the early acts, female deejays Stacious and Baby Tash both worked fairly good sets and for the most part, upstaged their male counterparts, which included Jah Vinci, Specialist, a nervous Potential Kidd, Honourable and Crazy Jakes. In fact, except for Zamunda, who played a fairly good set, the women dominated.
Dancehall Night brings out a galaxy of stars
I-Octane, Popcaan and Spice dazzle