Tempo Turns Ten and Turns up the Heat at Caribbean Week in NYC
On Sunday, June 5th in the heart of Times Square, NYC (often called The Crossroads of the World based on its worldwide recognition as a major tourist attraction and meeting ground) TEMPO networks hosted a double celebratory bash in marking both the first annual installment of “Caribbean Rocks NYC” and the fact that in 2016 “TEMPO Turns Ten.” The gathering was nestled inside the spacious main room at B.B. King Jazz and Blues Club on 42nd Street NYC and hosted as part of the popular Caribbean Week in NYC celebrations; the partnership brought out a chic crowd of friends and staunch supporters of the growing TEMPO network that was produced in association with Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), an organization of untiring advocates and promoters of Caribbean travel, arts and culture.
The Caribbean Rocks NYC portion of the event squarely delivered a rich sampling of cultural entertainment adding to the incentive to explore the many beautiful tropical travel destinations highlighted throughout the evening. Sharon Gordon, the host for most of the evening, did an incredible job helping to keep the program lively and emotionally gratifying as it combined artist performances and award presentations to important Caribbean figures. Key sponsors of the event included the islands of the Bahamas (Platinum) who I'm giving a “special” round of applause for delivering excellent presentations throughout the evening, Barbados (Gold), Turks and Caicos (Silver) and St. Kitts (Bronze); while Jamaica joined the sponsorship roles late, they too enjoyed a welcomed and significant presence throughout the evening. Caribbean Rocks NYC also received sponsorship support from the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, Caribbean Airlines, American Airlines and Norwegian Airlines with additional special thanks going out for the support received from VP Records.
Live Performances at Caribbean Rocks
Among the early performers was an American artist of Bahamian descent by the name of Tebby who shared with the audience her unique blend of pop, calypso, R&B and soul music in a short but engaging performance. She was followed by Mr. Bagnall representing St. Kitts who gave attendees 10 minutes of incredible entertainment.
Up next was a high-energy artist from Turks and Caicos called Tess who was backed by a riveting group of entertaining dancers. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Spank Band from Bahamas but must admit that I was floored by the presence of calypso singer and songwriter of international fame, the Mighty Sparrow (oftentimes referred to as the “Calypso King of the World” and rightfully so). Sparrow made his way to the stage slowly but none-the-less giving us a top-notch vocal performance.
And just as important as the sensational musical performances and dancing were, there were also excellent
presentations by DJ Warson Skywalker (representing Music Research Lab) who for the entire night shared an outstanding mix of Caribbean music covering every island that kept attendees lining the dance floor.
Meanwhile behind the scenes, Chef Patrick worked his culinary magic flooding attendees throughout the venue with delicious Caribbean delicacies in generous portions.
In recognition of their considerable achievements TEMPO presented several awards during the course of the evening.
The first was an Image Award given to celebrity stylist Eric Archibald who hails from Antigua. Archibald is the head stylist for award winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson and was the stylist for Beyonce's Lemonade Tour to mention only two of his major celebrity clients and projects.
In recognition of his life work, a posthumous Achievement Award was bestowed to the late Bahamian artist Johnny Kemp who died accidentally in April 2015 at age fifty-five. Kemp is best known for his 1989 Grammy nominated song “Just Got Paid” in the category of Best R&B Song. The presentation honoring Kemp was made to his wife Diedre Kemp who was joined onstage by their sons. Her short acceptance speech was filled with emotion and she graciously expressed her deep appreciation for the recognition of her late husband.
The Leaders Award went to Hugh Riley who is the Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Board. As the chief operating officer Mr. Riley has the responsibility of overseeing offices in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and in Barbados where their offices are located. He is instrumental in ensuring the effective delivery of agency services for everything from information technology to tourism development both in corporate and government sectors. To summarize all that he accomplishes here would be impossible leaving me to say, his tenure has favorably impacted the vision and growth of the board.
The Chairman’s Award was given to Abu Alam, Chief Financial Officer of TEMPO in recognition of eight years of outstanding service to TEMPO. East Indian in heritage, his acceptance speech brought warm cheers as he basically explained how much he loves and embraces the Caribbean and considers himself an honorary member.
The Legacy Award was presented to the parents of the CEO Mr and Mrs. Frederick Morton Sr for their unselfish support of their son and tireless support of the TEMPO network. Seen together onstage and off as a loving couple, Frederick Morton Jr. credited them for always standing by his side and offering unconditional love.
Launched in November 2005, Tempo “the #1 destination for all things Caribbean” was initially owned by MTV Networks and offered as a subscriber based cable program however since 2007 the network has been owned by its founder and CEO Frederick Morton Jr. The network offers a series of high-quality Caribbean lifestyle programing items in multiple formats including News, Entertainment Music, Sports, Films, Cuisine, Festivals & Travel. Their programs air in the New York tri-state area and in Pennsylvania on Cablevision channel 1160 and at last count on approximately forty-eight stations on various channels throughout the Caribbean.
Viewership currently exceeds 3 million viewers throughout the Caribbean and countless others throughout the NYC area via Cablevision. In a recent strategic business move, TEMPO completed negotiations to launch throughout the United State via Verizon FiOs giving them the potential to reach and additional 5 million subscribers who utilize the service on cable or through its mobile applications. Dedicated programming includes shows like: Cross Caribbean Countdown, Cook Up, Rise & Shine (Myles Munroe), Rise & Shine (Jamie Thomas), Badness Outta Style, Tempo Presents, Ocean Style, CANTO Exhibition and TEMPO Sports. Special events listed on their lineup includes popular events like the St. Kitts Music Festival , Miami Carnival and the NY West Indian Day Parade.
Special events come and go however I predict that in years to come Caribbean Rocks NYC will undoubtedly increase in popularity and hopefully pave the way for similar events to follow, at destinations across the globe. Over the course of the next three months Caribbean Rocks NYC – TEMPO Turns Ten plans to telecast the program across TEMPO’s cable television distribution network. Clearly on a mission to highlight the breadth and scope of Caribbean culture to the world, TEMPO passionately states on their website: “Caribbean people are extraordinary. We have made significant contributions to the world, and it is time those contributions be recognized.” I totally agree and advise that you follow TEMPO on all social networks and sign up for their mailing lists. Subscribe to their channel in your area and if it's not yet there, contact your local cable provider and don't just ask for it, demand it and then encourage your friends to do the same!
Grace Vanriel is the founder and CEO of the Live Reggae NYC network and co-founder of The Reggaeholics Movement to preserve and promote Reggae music as a traditional Jamaican art form; she is a freelance writer for Where Itz At Magazine, Senior Correspondent for ReggaeReflection.com, CatchTheVybe.com, and BuildUrBuzz.com.
Melvin Calendar is a freelance photographer based in NYC covering a wide variety of Caribbean shows and festivals in the NYC region.
#SunfestFL 2016 Rick Springfield Photos & Review
Love Is All Right Today
Story by Sheldon Roberton and Photos by Empress K for Reggae Reflection
This veteran Australian rocker prefaced his performance with a video retrospective of his acting and musical career, mostly focusing on the first half of the ‘80s when he was both starring on the hit soap opera General Hospital and hitting the top of the charts as a recording artist. Rick then moved from the past to the present, kicking off his show with the song “Party Up” from new album Rocket Science.
Even though he compared playing mid-afternoon to “f_ _ king under fluorescent light”, Rick’s performance in the hot South Florida sun delivered. Familiar smashes like “I’ve Done Everything For You” and “Affair of the Heart” were featured on a set-list that also included a massive medley of songs such as “Bop Till You Drop”, ”Celebrate Youth”, ”Don’t Walk Away”, ”State of the Heart”, ”What Kind of Fool Am I”, ”Love Is All Right Tonight”, even a bit of his signature hit “Jessie’s Girl.”
In addition to his well-known hits, Rick also highlighted some other songs from the new album. After playing “Miss Mayhem”, a track with a swampy feel and slide guitar, he pointed out appropriately enough a sky banner being pulled over the festival advertising a blues concert featuring Buddy Guy. Other songs from the new album included the tracks “That One” and “Down.”
Rick also played a couple of surprising covers. After saying he was going to play a “girl’s song” but he was going to make it more rockish, Rick launched into a cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” Some of the concertgoers I talked to afterwards wondered why he would cover such a song but I thought he probably did so as a way to be relevant to younger music fans. I later heard from my friend Gail, a prominent member of the local contingent of Rick’s Chicks, that he also covered Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
Longtime Rick Springfield fans enjoying a moment before the show!
SALT n PEPA
Story by Sheldon Robertson and Photos by Empress K Reggae Reflection
Pick up Those Hips!
This group from Queens, NY, first hit the charts a few years after the birth of hip-hop. So it was only fitting that early in their Sunfest performance, Cheryl "Salt" James and Sandra "Pepa" Denton would lead the crowd in “ol’ school” chants from rap classics such as “Rappers’ Delight.”
Overlapping sets dragged us away from this show, but those who stayed were treated to such hits as “Whatta Man”, “Shoop” and their signature tune “Push It.” Of all the shows in what was a very good year for Sunfest, this was the performance I wish I could have watched till the end.
Fans at the Ford Stage enjoying an afternoon of Hip Hop and Soul
Story by Gianna Mascaro of Knight News.com and Sheldon Robertson of The Music Type, Photos by Empress K Reggae Reflection
This Philadelphia hip-hop/neo soul group is probably best known for its partnership with television host Jimmy Fallon, having been the house band for his previous talk show, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and now The Tonight Show. But the recording career of The Roots, considered one of the most progressive acts in contemporary music, is just as notable as its late-night tenure. Not only has the group been awarded a handful of Grammys in the Rap and R&B categories, it has also amassed gold and platinum records with their studio releases, some of which have included collaboration with artists such as John Legend and Elvis Costello.
For its Sunfest performance, drummer/co-founder Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson took his place behind his kit, signature Afro pick sticking out of his hair. Questlove (also spelled “?estlove”) was joined by vocalist/co-founder Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and the rest of the eight-man band in what would prove to be a high-energy performance.
The horn section in particular was showcased, with trumpet solos by David Guy of the Dap-Kings band. Also featured was sousaphone player Damon “Tuba Gooding Junior” Bryson, who wandered the stage as he played, even venturing out on to the catwalk several times. All along, the proceedings were presided over by Black Thought, clad in all white as he rapped over the music and introduced his band-mates to the audience before solos.
Any late-night show band needs to have a number of covers in its arsenal, and The Roots took the opportunity to show off how much of other artists’ music they know. Sprinkled throughout the set was an eclectic set of covers that included hits by the recently-deceased Prince (“Kiss”, “Let’s Go Crazy”), George Thoroughgood (“Bad to the Bone/Who Do You Love”), Damian Marley (“Welcome To Jamrock”), even Led Zeppelin (“The Immigrant Song”). Most songs turned into extended instrumental jams that tended to flow together. The set concluded with a medley that included “The Seed (2.0)”, the band’s hit featuring fellow eclectic musician Cody Chestnutt.
Surprise After Surprise, Oracabessa Festival 2016!
Story by Grace Vanriel and photos by Melvin Calendar for Reggae Reflection
Memorial Day Monday, May 30, 2016 marked another fun-filled staging of the 3rd Annual Oracabessa Festival in Roy Wilkins Park, Queens NYC produced by IrieJam Productions. Weather reports threatened a whopping estimate of 90% rain showers and not a single drop materialized. Rain or no rain either way did not deter Irie Jam fans from filling the park to full-joy the expected festivities that by curtain-call furnished us with an entire day of surprise after surprise after surprise!
Billed as “a day of Caribbean celebration,” among the most notable early warm performers at Oracabessa Festival 2016 was Ras Attitude who sprang to the stage and immediately commanded the attention of attendees. He sang songs like “Please Mr. Police,” and “Most High Protect” that received thunderous applause in appreciation of his excellent vocal abilities and brief but high-energy performance. When Ras Attitude was through he left us wanting to hear more and I couldn’t help hoping that next time he'd be elevated to the featured section of the program. Other great early warm performer was Royalty hailing out of Mount Vernon NY who shared original songs like “Can't Let Go” and then “We Can Stay All Day” that was not only timely but well presented. Next up was Lion Melta who is also a NY based artist and one well endowed with an abundance of Roots & Culture vigor and “nuff” talent. Another well placed early warm artist going by the stage name of Dr. Love was interesting as he sprinkled his performance with light humor that thoroughly delighted the audience. The segment ended with artist Noah Landale, a Jamaican born artist who as we learned mainly lives in London but in town to entertain the crowd. He accomplished entertaining us with songs like “Take You To Jamaica” that was clearly an audience favorite; Landale closed out the segment with a song called “Give Thanks for Life” that had many of us up on our feet and gleefully singing along.
DELCITA'S BORDER PATROL
In-between performances Irie Jam plied us with plenty of great onstage MC entertainment antics but then came the first of a few surprises. Nobody expected to be treated to a full performance of legendary Jamaican comedic actor Delcita's original comedy “Border Patrol” performed with a cast of other stellar actors. Granted, the one hour-forty-five minute production began with a few minor technical bugs involving the microphones that caused a slow start but once the kinks were worked out nobody cared because the play was hilarious making it a great special treat! Shortly thereafter young African dancers took the stage and in well rehearsed step they gyrated their way into our hearts – these kids were marvelous and Irie Jam is to be commended for giving children an opportunity to showcase their awesome dance talents.
An artist previously unknown to me, a 25-year old out of Jamaica W.I. going by the stage name Jah Lil shared two songs but nonetheless the combination of his lifting performance and cutting edge lyrics provided a crystal clear glimpse into his musical mission. Short of calling him Reggae Gospel, I'm inclined to categorize him as an “Inspirational Reggae” artist based on his artful blend of Roots Reggae and Praise music. The second song he performed was “Siren,” released on the VP Records label in 2015 and it was so good that the next day I started following his artist page on Facebook!
As for Gully what can anyone say other than the fact he is one artist who knows how to entertain by incorporating his current shenanigans into his music; staged comments like “nuh boy with no teeth have gyal like me” that he then backed with songs like “Every Gyal Ah Wine Off Me.” Yeahman...his set was a huge hit!!
MAVADO gave the longest performance of the day sharing thirty minutes of his rich catalog of hit songs which of course, were expected and welcomed. For an unexpected encore (which given the fadding time was welcomed but not at all expected) he gave us a 100% guaranteed crowd pleasing favorite song, “I'm So Special.”
Caribbean Heritage Awards
Irie Jam gave out a number of 'Caribbean Heritage Awards' bestowed throughout the afternoon including one posthumously honoring the late artist Martin James Ziggy Norman Riley popularly known as Jimmy Riley, father of Tarrus Riley who died in NY in March 2016 following a long battle with cancer. The presentation was preceded by a short clip of Tarrus performing at Oracabessa Festival 2015 and bringing out his beloved father to join him onstage. It was a heartfelt moment as Taurrus's mother Lavern Tatham-Riley humbly accepted the award presented by Bobby Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Productions. Another award went to to forty-five (or more) year veteran of radio Gil Bailey who along with his wife Pat are staples on the NY Caribbean radio market. Accomplished Musician / Producer Haldane Wayne Browne better known as Danny Browne was also a recipient of the Carribean Heritage Award, and the final Caribbean Heritage Award went to the legendary hit maker Mighty Sparrow who in great style shared with the audience some of his greatest songs like “Mister Walker.”
New Kid took the stage for another brief set that opened the door for one of the most respected names in Reggae Ken Boothe (aka Mr. Smooth and looking just that from head to toe). Let me just say that as expected his entire performance lasting thirty-minutes was outstanding; the audience pretty much sang to every song he selected, and based on the way he fully moved about on stage, that man in no way appears to be increasing in age. He shared with the audience his philosophy as it relates to his music stating: “songs live forever, people don't.” Along that theme Ken Boothe's rendition of the Nat King Cole song, “When I Fall In Love” Reggae style was without doubt one of my favorite songs of the entire event.
Oracabessa Festival Fans in the moment!
SUPERCAT joined us next and I can tell you that by the response of the audience, his 15-years away from NY stages has made him sorely missed. He managed to look dapper in a fresh nostalgic red checkered suit (reminiscent of 1970's style) and he too sang from his extensive catalog of music sharing classics like “Guiding Star.” The producers may have been taken aback by some of his lyrical content and sudden reemergence to the stage after his set was cut short but truth be told, the audience expected him to act up and loved every second of the showbiz fracas.
The final act of the day was to have been Nesbeth but more on what happened next in a minute. Meanwhile, an on-stage Nesbeth still clearly grieving the recent loss of his beloved wife Annmarie dedicated a song to her before his segue to “My Dream,” a song that he was honored to sing at the swearing-in ceremonies for Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
By way of explanation as to the last artist that took the stage at the 2016 Presentation of Oracabessa Festival, the final act was Vershon only to be booted off shortly after. Producers let us know, the lyrics were not as wholesome as had been expected. Well, for the very short time that he sang, Vershon was in strong voice and I would have liked to have heard more.
All-in-all Oracabessa Festival 2016 was a success. Irie Jam Productions is a professional team with a great reputation for delivering what they promise so no surprises there. What was surprising are the great lengths they undertook to outdo themselves in 2016 by introducing so many extras. Most everyone loves getting more than they pay for and attendees were given plenty. I left Roy Wilkins Park elated that the producers had put a lot of painstaking time and energy into figuring out how to delight ticket holders, and caring enough to do so. As always, ticket prices were affordable with special low rates beginning at $25 for early bird purchases and increasing slightly with the approach of the event. Hats off to all the fabulous vendors and of course to loyal and supporters like sponsors People Choice Furniture, Golden Krust, the Real Estate Authority (who donated and raffled both a TV and radio), WIADCA, Signature 78 Fashion, Moving Forward and Irwine Clare and Team Bickle Jamaica for continually supporting a high-quality and well produced event. Jah willing, we all have the 2017 presentation to look forward to with eager anticipation!
Enjoy more photos from Oracabessa Music Festival 2016 in our slideshow below.
Grace Vanriel is the founder and CEO of the Live Reggae NYC network and co-founder of The Reggholics Movement to preserve and promote Reggae music as a traditional Jamaican art form; she is a freelance writer for Where Itz At Magazine, Senior Correspondent for ReggaeReflection.com, CatchTheVybe.com,
Melvin Calendar is a freelance photographer based in NYC covering a wide variety of Caribbean shows and festivals in the NYC region.
#SunfestFL 2016 Day 3 (The Joy Formidable, Death Cab for Cutie, Watch The Duck)
The Joy Formidable - Welsh Girl Power
This alt-rock power trio kicked off its set with the “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade” from the band’s debut album, 2011’s “The Big Roar.” This upbeat catchy rocker seemed like the perfect soundtrack for what guitarist/vocalist Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan described as a lovely evening, one she admitted was not a common occurrence in the band’s birthplace of Northern Wales. For that matter, the petite blonde’s accent is so lilting, just her talking could have been musical enough.
But the other songs Ritzy sang into her microphone adorned with a mass of light-bulb strings were just as appealing. Standouts include the percussive rocker “The Last Thing on My Mind” and the introspective ballad “Liana”, both from the group’s latest release, the 2016 album “Hitch.” The short set also featured material from older albums, such as “Little Blimp” from 2013’s “Wolf’s Law.”
Drummer Matthew James Thomas was set up in an unusual position: on the right side of stage, so that he faced his band-mates instead of the audience while he bashed away at a drum kit that included a very large gong. Also going against the norm was bassist Rhydian Dafydd, who seemed considerably more animated than the typical player of that instrument, occasionally running over to one or the other of his band-mates during the show.
Despite getting noisier as it went along, this power trio’s set was surprisingly melodic overall, and definitely worth seeing.
Joy Formidable Fans at the JetBlue Stage
Death Cab for Cutie - The Ghosts of Flagler Drive
Ben Gibbard, guitarist-vocalist for this veteran alt-rock band, felt compelled to say the name of his group both at the beginning and the end of the group’s set, a good strategy for bar bands starting out but not one usually employed by festival headliners. Perhaps Gibbard had his own transformation in mind, though. Music fans familiar with the early years of the group’s existence might wonder what happened to its slightly pudgy, bespectacled frontman. But thanks to taking up running and losing the glasses, Gibbard now looks more like a matinee idol than the introspective songwriter that he still is.
Ben’s makeover might be for the best, though, given how energetic the band’s stage show is. When not singing, Gibbard would run around the stage engaging in guitar duets with his band-mates. Songs like “Crooked Teeth” and “The New Year” are filled with guitars, so both touring members Dave Depper and Zac Rae play guitar in addition to keyboards.
The set featured several tracks from the group’s latest album, 2015’s Kintsugi: the low-key “Black Sun”, the energetic “Ghosts of Beverly Drive”, and “Little Wanderer”, an introspective ballad with atmospheric guitar arpeggios. Older material performed included “No Sunlight” and “I Will Possess You” (from 2008’s Narrow Stairs ), and “President of What? ” (from the group’s 1997 debut You Can Play These Songs With Chords ).
The band closed the regular set with one of its best-known songs, the breezy acoustic-guitar rocker “Soul Meets Body”, but thankfully omitted its biggest hit, the hopelessly morbid “I Will Follow You Into The Dark.”
The two-song encore consisted of “Marching Band from Manhattan” from its popular 2005 release Plans, and “Transatlanticism” , the title track of the group’s 2003 release. This was played solo by Gibbard, who abandoned his guitars to sit behind the piano to perform this ballad.
Watch The Duck - Don't fear the Duck
Photos and words by Empress K for Reggae Reflection / Island Stage
As the band name suggests, there is indeed a duck figure in the band and on guitar at that. Based in Atlanta, GA, Watch the Duck (WTD) features lead vocalist Jesse Rankins, Dj Eddie Smith III, and guitarist Oscar White aka The Duck. While the WTD trio has only been around since 2012, they have already made a big impact in the EDM / Trapstep world with powerful collaborations featuring the likes of TI, Dj E Feezy, Pharrell and Steve Aoki.
WTD brought a party like atmosphere to Sunfest and had the EDM crowd groovin to their Soul / Funk meets Dubstep unique style of sound. Jesse Rankins and The Duck took full advantage of the main stage catwalk or should I say duckwalk to keep the party vibes ‘Poppin Off’ as they performed numerous selections from their two EP releases: 2012 debut “Anatiadaephobia“ (the title referring to a fictional phobia made up by Gary Larson of Farside fame that describes the irrational yet humorous fear that somehow, somewhere you are being watched by a duck), and 2015 “Trojan Horse” ( Epic & Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records Release.)
“Everyone sees the Duck traveling smoothly on top of the water, but no one sees how hard he’s kicking under it to stay afloat.” Watch the Duck, describing how the band was named.
There’s much more to come from WTD including their recent song “Stretch 2-3-4” in a current Propel Electrolyte drink commercial, as they gear up to release their first full length album. There’s no word on the name yet, however I am sure it will be another fun and clever title.
The 10th Best of the Best Music Festival took place on Sunday, May 29, 2016 at Bayfront Park on Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami, Florida. When entering the park there were several vendors such as VP Records selling music merchandise, clothing and food. People were lined up for fresh coconut water, sugar cane and fresh juices.
Best of the Best 2016 began with several DJs playing music and engaging the crowd as the park began to fill with patrons waiting for the show to begin. Performers Patrice Roberts, Destra and Denise Belfon began the line up for Best of the Best, by getting the crowd to jump up and wine to soca music. Little John than hit the stage as the show transitioned to reggae music. Lady G came out and got the crowd moving to hits like Nuff Respect. Half Pint than took the crowd back with hits like Substitute Lover and Just Be Good To Me. Dancehall artist Vershon changed the tempo when he came out to perform at Best of The Best. Next, Kranium made his entrance dressed in all black and bright blue sneakers.
After Kranium, Nesbeth gave an energetic performance. He gave thanks to Best of the Best for presenting him with a gift in memory of his wife Anne Marie who passed in February. Nesbeth tugged at the emotions of the crowd as he reminded everyone of how important it is to let your loved ones know how much you love them today, because tomorrow isn’t promised. He than began his heartfelt performance of the song he sang at his wife’s funeral in March. You could feel and hear the emotion in Nesbeth’s voice as he expressed the pain he felt and continues to feel after losing his wife. Even through the heartache, Nesbeth promised to be present and to continue providing great music for his fans.
Beres Hammond was definitely one of the favorites of the night. The crowd was full of excitement and everyone pushed their way as close to the stage as possible as Beres Hammond came out. It seemed as though the entire crowd knew every lyric, and didn’t miss a beat as they sang and danced along with Beres.
Viral video comedian, Majah Hype, is known for his accurate, yet hilarious depictions of various Caribbean accents, culture and mannerisms. Patrons saw another side of Majah Hype as he kept the energy high with a Buju Banton versus Bounty Killer battle after Beres left the stage. It quickly became clear that in addition to accents, he is also talented at imitating several dancehall artists. Majah, who represented Buju Banton, won the battle when his opponent, whom was supposed to represent Bounty Killer, slipped up and began to recite Buju’s Driver when the taxi riddim came on.
Cham - Lawless Energy
Cham entered the stage with so much energy, I felt exhausted for him. Cham is known for spitting high-speed lyrics and is talented enough to deliver them live. As if the speedy lyrics aren’t enough, Cham gives a lively performance full of dancing, jumping and smiling. His energy is contagious, and makes you want to get up on the stage and dance along with him. Cham is an amazing all around entertainer and he did not disappoint the crowd.
Mr. Vegas didn’t end his performance by walking backstage like the rest of the performers. He hopped off the stage and jumped over the barrier into the audience. The crowd grew with excitement as everyone tried to move closer and snap a picture while he danced with a few lucky ladies.
Elephant Man closes the show
Elephant Man is known for his colorful hair and flashy ensembles, and his appearance at Best of the Best was no different. Elephant entered the stage looking like a Mexican bandit wearing a sombrero, baja hoodie, bullet guitar straps and gun holster. Elephant Man ran back and forth and really engaged the crowd as he sang snippets from several of his hits songs.
He had the crowd doing the dance moves to songs like Pon de River, Pon de Bank, Willie Bounce and Signal De Plane. Elephant Man invited a girl from the crowd on stage, and while dancing with her, picked her up and carried her to the opposite side of the stage. Soon after the crowd screamed with joy when Elephant Man introduced his surprise guest Tony Matterhorn. Tony gave a great performance despite that his microphone wasn’t working properly. Tony tried to give it a second chance and took Elephant Man’s microphone once more. My guess is that Tony had the microphone too long, because Elephant Man grabbed the mic away and pushed Tony Matterhorn off the stage. Elephant man continued performing and even invited a dancer on stage to show the crowd some new dance moves before he closed out another exciting year of Best of The Best.
The crowd was hesitant to leave since Cocoa Tea, one of the scheduled headliners did not perform as expected. Overall, the music festival did not disappoint. Best of The Best had a great line up as usual and continues to be one of the greatest reggae shows to attend Memorial Day weekend.
View the slideshow below for more Best of The Best photos
LunchMoney Lewis & Jason Derulo at Sunfest
Photos and words by Empress K for Reggae Reflection / Island Stage
While Lunchmoney Lewis is not yet a household name in the US, he quickly made his mark on the hip-hop scene writing songs for Nicki Minaj and Fifth Harmony before topping the charts in the UK with his own number one hit “Bills”, and has chart success in several other countries including New Zealand, UK, and Austria.
There was no mistaking LunchMoney Lewis as he confidently walked on stage sporting a comfy robe in reference to what he wears in his humorous video, “Bills.”
Accompanied by a two-piece band of drums and keys, he thoroughly entertained the all-ages audience with catchy sing-along songs including “Mama”, “Love You Back”, “Real Thing” and his Australian mega hit “Bills” from his 2015 Debut EP of the same name. Lunchmoney also had the crowd dancing along to “Whip It” which samples the popular song “Let it Whip” by the Dazz Band, all the while proving to the audience that he “Ain’t To Cool To Dance” - not that anyone could look very cool wearing a large Hawaiian style floral print shirt paired with long shorts and birkenstock style sandals - complete with white tube socks. However, if anyone can pull off this unique style, Lunchmoney can.
Gimmicks aside, LunchMoney Lewis is a talented artist to look out for and last year earned a top spot on the Rolling Stones Artists You Need To Know list.
You can also hear LunchMoney Lewis on the recent self-empowering collaboration “ I Love Me” with Meghan Trainor on her just released album Thank You. Unfortunately for us, Meghan Trainor performed the previous night (opening night) at Sunfest and we did not get to witness an on-stage collaboration, which we think would have been quite cool.
Fans at the Tire Kingdom Stage
By nightfall, a large crowd packed the Tire Kingdom Stage in anticipation of Pop / R&B sensation Jason Derulo’s explosive set. Derulo’s DJ Jae Murphy warmed up the young audience that waited patiently for Derulo to take the stage. Then in dramatic fashion, Derulo appeared on stage at the top of a staircase under a center spotlight to open the set with his world-wide hit “Trumpets” from his 2013 album Tattoos.
Derulo showing absolutely no sign that he fractured his vertebrae only a few years ago while touring in support of his fourth studio album, Everything is 4 released in 2015. Backed by his full band, Derulo accompanied by four talented dancers executed non-stop high energy dance moves throughout his tightly choreographed and entertaining production.
Derulo performed numerous radio hits from his four studio albums including “Wiggle”, “Get Ugly”, “Whatcha Say”, “Ridin Solo”, “Marry Me”, “It Girl,” “Go Home”, “If It Ain’t Love”, “Other Side”, “Cheyenne” and “Talk Dirty to Me” before closing out his powerful Sunfest performance with fan-favorite song, “Want to Want Me”, the lead single from Everything is 4.
Train Photos and Review by Sheldon Robertson
This San Francisco band’s headlining gig was a week after the passing of funk/rock/pop/r&b superstar Prince, so it wasn’t surprising to hear “Let’s Go Crazy” being played as the group took to the stage. But what was surprising was that as the band-members picked up their instruments, they started singing and playing along with the recording, somehow managing to sound good instead of chaotic.
After the Prince opening, Train moved into its own material, kicking things off with a pair of its bigger radio hits: the mariachi-powered “50 Ways To Say Goodbye” and “If It’s Love” with its mid-tempo groove and stream-of consciousness lyrics.
Monahan also remarked on how nice it was to have good weather for the show, and for good reason. For Train’s previous Sunfest appearance in 2013, the band had to deal with a soggy evening, complete with muddy grounds and a steady drizzle. But the group held the crowd’s attention then with a lot of audience participation, something which was repeated for this performance. As was the case in 2013, the song “Mermaid” was an invitation for the “little mermaids” to go onstage, and as he sang the songs “Marry Me” and “Bruises”, Monahan walked through crowd, shaking hands with the fans.
A Reflection in Time
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