Admiral Bailey slick and commanding
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Western Bureau:Diminutive reggae giant Coco Tea made a memorable Jamaica Jazz and Blues debut on Thursday night when he took the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium by storm, dazzling patrons with a mesmerising set, laced with a generous supply of trademark hits.
In a performance reminiscent of his awesome display at Reggae Sumfest 2009, when he came in as a late replacement for R&B star R Kelly and stole the spotlight, the gifted vocalist dug deep into his hit-filled catalogue and had patrons marvelling, some of whom acted like a well-schooled choir at times.
From his opening song, Babylon Throne, through to his parting shot, Tune In, the Clarendon native waxed sweet, belting out songs like Rikers Island, She Loves Me Now, Good Life, Forever Young and a silky-smooth cover of Bob Marley's, Waiting in Vain, with authority-laced charisma.
While Coco Tea stole the spotlight, the night was chock-full of memorable performances as the likes of veteran deejay Admiral Bailey, the veteran duo of Chakademus and Pliers, the riveting Roots Underground, the vocally gifted LUST and closing act, the legendary Third World, were all in fine fettle.
For those patrons familiar with dancehall, Admiral Bailey could do no wrong as he blended slick dance moves with crisp lyrics. It was basically dancing time for the fans as he reeled off hits like Hot Me Coming Hot, Jump Up, the hilarious Big Belly Man, and his enduring classic One Scotch.
Chakademus and Pliers, who were performing in Jamaica for the first time in five years, gave patrons a taste of what they were missing, sparking the memories with a number of well-received songs, including their global hits Tease Me, Twist & Shout and their mega hit Murder She Wrote.
As is now customary, the team of Thriller U, Tony Curtis, Lukie D and Singing Melody, performing as LUST, was very good as they collectively mesmerised, especially the ladies.
It was all screams of appreciation as individual performers took turns leading on songs like Run Free, Sweetness of Your Love, Say What and Missing You like Crazy, which were all spiced up by rich harmonies.
Roots Underground proved, in no uncertain terms, that they were no longer an emerging outfit but the real deal, stamping their vocal and instrumental authority.
The fans had no choice but to sit up and take notice as they authoritatively demanded respect, blazing away on songs like No Material Care and Rejoice.
Third World, celebrating 40 years as one of Jamaica's most potent musical forces, reminded the audience that they have been there and done that but still had the capacity for more.
With lead singer Bunny Rugs sounding as crisp as a compact disc, songs like Sense of Purpose, Forbidden, Reggae Ambassador and the group's anthem, 96 Degrees, were more than a fitting good-night gesture.
Among the other acts who graced the stage, much excitement flowed as the likes of Alaine, former Heptones frontman Leroy Sibbles, the comical Lovindeer, the duo of balladeers Ernie Smith and Pluto Shervington, opening act, the Grub Cooper-led Fab Five Band, former child star Nadine Sutherland and Mr Smooth, the evergreen Ken Boothe.
In addition to the love that flowed his way from the appreciative fans, Ken Boothe received a special award from the event's organisers for his enviable contribution to the growth and development of Jamaica's music.