Adrian Frater, News Editor
Music lovers in Montego Bay got an awesome lyrical and instrumental treat on Saturday afternoon when the western city played host to the third round of Jamaica's Best School Band, which got additional energy from a scintillating performance from the blazing Taddy P and the Blow Wow Band.
Against the backdrop of the pleasing ambience of the Fairfield Theatre, which is located on the outskirts of the western city, only three institutions - Pembroke Hall High School, Herbert Morrison Technical High School and Sam Sharpe Teachers' College - were on show, but they generate enough 'forwards' to make up for the no-shows.
Pembroke Hall, which previously participated in the first- and second-round shows in Kingston and Ocho Rios, respectively, demonstrated why they have been getting such positive reviews with an impressive display of lyrics, power and instrumental mastery, clearly advertising them as a class act.
With vocalists Caniel Williams and Katrine Chaplin leading with their crisp vocals, the band set a blazing early pace, giving their musical interpretation of songs such as Christopher Martin's Take My Love, Ritchie Spice's Earth A Run Red, Marcia Griffiths' Truly, When You are In Love, Kiss You Once More and One Life, and Dawn Penn's No, No, No.
With the cheering fans firmly in their corner, the young musicians went into overdrive, belting out classy renditions of Eric Donaldson's Having A Party, which the happy fans demanded that they 'pull up' several times.
After sizzling with Tinga Stewart's No Weh Nuh Better Than Yard, Pembroke Hall earned themselves a standing ovation with an awesome instrumental medley, which featured several reggae classics.
Herbert Morrison Technical, which has produced a host of top-flight musicians, followed Pembroke Hall to the stage, and while their set was a short one, it was rich. In addition to their crystal-clear horn section, which could rival many established bands, and their impressive choreography, their rendition of The Wailers' Simmer Down and Long Time was an exceptional experience.
When the Sam Sharpe band hit the stage, they immediately drew rich applause as they complemented their set with pleasing dance moves, especially when they did the song, Jamaica Ska and Perfidia. They all but brought the house down as they closed expertly with Dennis Brown's Wildfire and Gregory Isaacs' Night Nurse.
Guest performer Taddy P and the Blow Wow Band gave the amateur bands a lesson in professionalism, unleashing an unforgettable display, which most certainly will remain a cherished memory for all who witnessed the supreme instrumental flow, especially when Taddy P made the bass guitar talk.
It was all sweet reggae music at its pulsating best as female vocalists Innifer and Shauna Burke belted out reggae-coated renditions of Michael Jackson's Rock With You, Teddy Prendergast's My Place and Stevie Wonder's Jammin', which are all featured on Taddy P's Gimme De Bass album.
After a mind-blowing rendition of the Gimme De Bass song, Taddy P joined forces with reggae singer Mackie Conscious and all but brought the house down. It was all energy and charisma as they belted out their hit song, Leave The Crumbs Alone. Mackie Conscious added a special touch, showing off his versatility by taking turns playing the drums, the keyboard and the bass guitar, all with complete mastery.