Superjam returns with a bang - Long-time stageshow franchise lives up to billing
Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
The cool night and inviting atmosphere at Pulse8 helped those who arrived on time for Pulse's revamped Superjam concert series to cope with the late start.
The event, which was slated to begin at 8:30 p.m. did not kick off until around 10 when fast-rising reggae talent Chronixx, took to the stage chanting lyrics from Burning Spear's Slavery Days.
Backed by the Zinc Fence Band, Chronixx then delivered a sensational set, proving his worth as a performer and starting the show on a high note.
Throughout his set, Chronixx would take sips of some indiscernible drink that he brought onstage which seemed to have renewed his energy each time. Chronixx ended with Odd Ras and by the end of his set any sceptic in the audience was now cheering him on.
DJ Sanjay kept the crowd entertained during a somewhat lengthy band change. It was then time for Rising Stars winner Christopher Martin, to woo the ladies with his melodious crooning.
Martin delivered a strong set, but his smooth vocals failed to get the crowd as energised as Chronixx did. That was until he was joined onstage by Agent Sasco.
The audience went wild as soon as Sasco stepped on the stage and the two performers delivered a short but explosive performance of a medley of songs. There were some technical difficulties onstage with one of the microphones, but Martin and Sasco proved they were professionals and did not let it hinder their performance.
After Martin closed with his smash hit Cheater's Prayer - much to the delight of the patrons - it was time for another band change.
Chronixx and Martin got the vibes going and put patrons in the right mood for the acts to follow.
Busy Signal, Lady Saw and Sizzla Kalonji are all seasoned performers and were no doubt responsible for the large turnout.
The newly revamped Pulse8 venue - formerly Studio 38 - was able to hold the large crow comfortably. The setting and atmosphere was very relaxed, which complemented the audience well as they were, for the most part, casually attired.
Many of the VIP ticket holders, however, moved to the general section as the raised platform only provided a good view of the stage for those up front.
Lady Saw was in awesome form as Marion Hall and found ways of reigning in her usual raunchy performance for what may have seemed a more conservative audience.
The queen of dancehall did get audience members dancing with each other and at one point pulled off her wig, every action bringing the desired screems from the audience.
While Busy Signal's set was well received, it was not as powerful as Hall's, who preceded him. It is clear, though, that Busy Signal is right where he should be and the audience let him know.
His set was a mixture of the old and the new, neither failing to excite the large crowd on hand to see him.
By this time, the late start and the lengthy band changes had begun to catch up and Sizzla's performance had to be truncated. His almost 3 p.m. entry was always going to be impacted by the noise abatement act and a tired audience.
Three songs in, the fun was over. It was unfortunate because the man, also well-known as Kalonji, was just warming up his vocals to produce the kind of performance that has made him the most sought-after artiste of 2012's Christmas season.
Superjam, which was a dominant name on the stage show scene in the 1980s, was making its return, and if Thursday's presentation is anything to go by, the future of the event looks bright.
Pulse boss and promoter of Superjam, Kingsley Cooper, wanted to see how well the remount would do, and he is happy.
"We are very pleased with this holiday season's Superjam. Coming after such a long hiatus, it was good to see the tremendous public support the event attracted. The entertainment line-up reflected the best of Jamaica's music this year. Many patrons told us that they had a great time and felt that the performances were of a high quality, as was the production overall," said Cooper.
The return of the event doesn't seem to be a one-off occurrence, even if it was meant to be.
"Some Superjam veterans said they were excited by the event's return, as the end-of-year timing, short list of the top acts of the year, with them delivering full performances, was a concept they had missed. For our part, we thought Superjam was amazing and that it really delivered in the 'best of the best' tradition of the event. This has been reflected in the highly positive feedback we are receiving from young and old. Many said that this particular package of stars was excellent and that they had received full value for money by the time Lady Saw performed midway the show."