Everton Blender, Admiral Tibbet & Determine - Sunday 17th August 2003Well, this night was, no doubt, a big lesson for the promoters involved - It takes more than a few flyers and some tickets printed to put on a show. And to just expect people to turn up.
I was rather taken aback on arrival at about 10.45pm to find about 15 people in the place. The numbers then swelled to, ooooh, maybe 35, by about 12.30 !!
Very sad to see such a small turn out, especially considering what we were celebrating. The lyrics certainly rang true that night indeed "no-one remembers old Marcus Garvey....". However, methinks it was just to lack of advertising and promotion of the show. It was put on at the right time (week before Carnival), there was nothing else that clashed that night with it etc etc.. Just luck of the draw in the promotions game I guess.
Anyhows, I was more than expecting them to call it a night, cut there losses and give people there money back, but no, the show went on !
Admiral Tibbet was a no show, I don't think he is even in the country at the moment, so don't know the details of that, suffice to say, no mention of him, or apology for him not appearing, was ever made on the night.
On arrival, Jah Surzimma was playing in fine style (though it was being mixed a bit loud for an empty venue) he drew some tunes I've never heard before in my life. Great stuff.
Little later the show kicks off, a couple of Poets came out to bless the night (sorry names escape me) and then Sandeeno, a man who surely deserves a bigger break than he has so far received, did a few nice songs PA style. That Included a pretty nice reworking of the R Kelly "remix to ignition" thats being used by everyone at the moment, lyrics swapped for some nice conscious Anti Gun lyrics.
Then came on stage the diminuitive Serial K, female singer out of Mo' bay. She did a couple of tunes and tried to build up the vibes, begging the crowd "that its not the crowd size thats necessary, but the vibes you make, and to make some coz' she works off of vibes".
Next up was Ayesha Blender, Evertons daughter (who also sang backing vocals on his set). A very sweet performer, young and full of vibes with a little shyness there still. She did a lovely rendition of Dennis' "Here I come".
And then onto the main business of the night.
Determine came first and immediately caught the place a Fire ! Before he came on you were all very conscious of how few people were in there. It was like someone performing in your front room, and the 'crowd' (if you can call it that) were reacting that way too, a little shy to come forward or to sing along, as it was your one lone voice you could hear!. Well, Determine blasted onto the stage at 100mph which was what was needed to get the audience with him. The crowd, as little as we were, responded accordingly jumping up and shaking the mans hand. And you suddenly forgot all about the 'front room performance' thing, you were at a stage show and you were enjoying yourself!
He got big support from the small posse of fans there, and gave a very professional performance in response. I don't think he could give a better performance if he was in front of a crowd of thousands. He kept us all right with him. Blasting strictly 100% conscious, cultural lyrics. At times DJ-ing raw and hard, at times singing really sweetly and then settling down on the monitors at the front to 'chant' low and clear to the fans, the Mixing desk had a problem keeping up ! On a couple of occasions he had to politely ask them to turn down the mike and take off any reverb and so on.. as he "is an artist that wants to make the crowd hear every word"
He really impressed me this night. The way he handled such a tiny audience. I have nothing now but the greatest respect for the man. If I liked his material before, I am a fan now, which is what a stage show is really all about doing isn't it ?! He gave a fairly long performance, all things considering, only leaving a little time for Everton Blender, who again, came on professionally enough, although you could see his Vibes weren't there, and appeared to be going through the motions somewhat.
Aside from a few occasions where he addressed the crowd, he maintained steady eye contact away and to the floor, I guess it was too disheartening to look up and out at nothing but the mixing desk. Anyhow, he worked through his songs neat enough and had a little fun, World Corruption was dropped and of course he closed the night with "Lift up your head" and "Ghetto People Song"...and that was that.
A big shame all in all, for what should have been a great night of celebrations, but fullest respect goes out to the artists involved, especially Determine, for maintaining the old adage of "The show must go on"....
Review by Sister Ali