SIZZLING SUMFEST - Acts deliver high-energy performances on Dancehall Night
What they promised was a “taste of Reggae Sumfest”, but what organisers delivered last night was a slew of spectacular performances that no doubt left viewers in the virtual world more than satisfied. Festival Night One (Dancehall Night) offered up one sizzling performance after the other and yet again underlined the festival’s claim as the ‘greatest reggae show on Earth’.
With the set-up for the event being exactly as it would have been at the physical show, persons watching online could be forgiven for thinking they were at the Catherine Hall venue in Montego Bay, St James.
From ‘90s dancehall icons such as Chaka Demus and Pliers, Frisco Kid, and Tanto Metro and Devonte to some of today’s hottest dancehall stars, the show had a bit of something for everyone. Although the performances were short, they lacked nothing as each act executed their set with the same energy they would have brought to the actual live event.
Chaka Demus and Pliers kicked things off for the veterans last night as they took the virtual audience on a trip down memory lane with some timeless classics, delivering songs such as Bam Bam, She Don’t Let Nobody, and Tease. The duo set the tone for the rest of the night as the performances only got better from there.
Taking over from Chaka Demus and Pliers, Tanto Metro and Devonte continued down the nostalgic road. They served up a few of their hits, including Give It To Her Please, Gyal Say Woe, and Everyone Falls In Love. As if recognising that the audience wanted more, the pair served up ‘brawta’ as they performed their latest single, Nah Fren, before making way for Frisco Kid.
In true Frisco Kid fashion, the ‘90s hitmaker turned things up a notch when he touched the stage. Asking everyone to join in from wherever they were watching, Frisco Kid churned out hit after hit. Catering particularly to his female fan base, the entertainer delivered songs such as Little and Cute, Gyal Pan The Side, Rubbers, and Big Speech.
Daddy 1, Chronic Law, and Ishawna were next up. Making her return to the Sumfest stage after some four years, Ishawna delivered on her promise of a safe but festive performance. She kept it classy but still gave a hint of the raunchiness that made her popular when she delivered songs such as Restraining Order, Cheerful Giver, A Bay, Ooh La La, Need Love, Slippery When Wet, Everybody Needs Love, Want It, and, of course, Equal Rights.
Daddy 1 and Chronic Law catered to new-era dancehall lovers as they also served up some of their biggest hits. Daddy 1 performed songs such as Bro Gad, Custom, and Anthem, while the ‘Law Boss’ performed hits such as Hillside, Bless Me, and Plastic Smile.
They then made way for the Romeich Entertainment team of Shenseea, Teejay, and Ding Dong to take over the stage. Ding Dong was first up. Accompanied by a few members of his Ravers Clavers dance crew, the entertainer brought a new level of energy to the Sumfest stage. Delivering songs such as Good Ting Dem, Fling, Snappin’, Cha Cha Bwoy, Lebeh Lebeh, Flairy, and Genna Bounce, Ding Dong must have had viewers at home working up a sweat on the dance floor in their living rooms. He closed out his set with Watch Dem as he warned the virtual world to be very observant of the people they invite into their inner circle.
His labelmate Shenseea was up next. In her first performance since the COVID-19 lockdown, the artiste told viewers that whether virtually or in person, she was just happy to be engaging with her ‘Shenyenz’ once more. She then went on to serve up some of her most notable hits, including Trick or Treat, Trending Gyal, Love I Got For You, Sidechick Song, Shenyeng Anthem, Bless, and Tie Me Up. She then made way for Teejay. Delivering tracks such as My Type, Uptop Boss, and Owna Lane, among others, the Uptop Boss also gave a very satisfying performance.
Dancehall artiste Konshens, who hadn’t graced the Sumfest stage in quite a few years, was next on the line-up. He served up hits such as Gyal A Bubble, So Mi Tan, and Bruk Off Yuh Back as he catered to the ladies before changing gear to deliver songs like Realest Song, Overproof, and Do Supmn. He made way for Agent Sasco, who served as a fitting closer for the historic first virtual staging of Reggae Sumfest. Sasco, who is known for bringing positivity and a whole lot of substance with his performances, was just what the doctor ordered for persons going through a stressful period due to COVID-19.
The entertainer acted as a messenger of sorts as he urged viewers to stay strong in spite of. He served up songs such as Banks of The Hope, Fade Away, Winning, and Loco, all songs that coincided with his message. He ended his set with Almighty. A prayer of sorts, the song was the perfect one to close the curtains on this year’s Dancehall Night.
Downsound Records CEO Joe Bogdanovich said, “What you saw here on Dancehall Night was just a little preview of not only what Sumfest was going to be like, but also what Reggae Night will bring”.
“If Dancehall Night brought so much energy and life, then Saturday is going to be awesome. We will be having artistes such as Gyptian, Freddie McGregor, Maxi Priest, Tarrus Riley, Sizzla, and, of course, Koffee, and they’re all top-class acts. It’s going to be electrifying.”