Review of Spiritual Fyah with Luciano, Queen Ifrica, and Tony Rebel, 11/8/08 at Club Intrigue in Stone Mountain, GA.
First off let me say for the record that since the mid 1990’s, when asked which artist puts on the best live stage show performance, my answer was and is Luciano. I found out that he was going to be performing in Atlanta through word of mouth the day before the concert and decided to go since it had been a while since I attended a stage show. Knowing that Caribbean events in Stone Mountain typically start late, I was in no rush to arrive. I got inside Club Intrigue at around 2am after paying $30. I had no problem forking up the money, because after all, it was for Luciano – my favorite live performer. At that time there was a short line outside and the venue, which can hold approximately 1000 people was about half full. More people continued to arrive over the next couple hours but the club wasn’t packed at all.
English: Photo of Tony Rebel, Jamaican reggae legend (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Early Warm (part 1)
Local sound man, Danger Marcus finished up his set on the turntables and turned the controls over to Adonai Sound from Jamaica. Dred from Adonai selected and mixed, while Atlanta’s Mix Master David acted as MC. Adonai’s Dred started out with some foundation music, but then brought it to more recent conscious and lover’s rock reggae before starting to juggle with songs like ‘Living Dangerously‘ by Bounty Killer featuring Barrington Levy. The music was decent though I would have liked to hear more culture played since it was a culture show. Also, Mix Master David’s specialty is mixing, hence his name, and he struggled to connect with the audience while talking over music being played by the Adonai. I don’t recall any forwards (big crowd responses) being achieved.
The Early Warm (part 2)
At around 3am, the stage show began with opening acts performing dirty south style hip-hop. The first 4 acts took the stage rapping about various subject matter unrelated to the theme of the night (Spiritual Fyah), performing at least 2-3 songs each which made me think to myself, among other questions, “are the promoters familiar with the music of Luciano at all?” After that the MC introduced Fire Harp, the first reggae artist, followed by Ras Idon, Ishmael Turner, and a female duet that reminded me of the group Floetry called Last Lyricists. These performances were good and much more appropriate, but I think this whole portion of the show was too long. Standing up and watching 8 artists you have never heard of sing songs you never heard before for over an hour doesn’t exactly energize a crowd, especially at that time of morning.
The MC then announced that the DJ would take over for a while until the remaining artists were ready to take the stage so Nolan from King Eternity began to select and was joined by Danger Marcus as MC. I think Danger Marcus was better than Mix Master David as he ventured away from the DJ booth in the corner of the stage out to front stage a few times to interact with the crowd. He had more energy, but It didn’t transfer over to the audience. This whole time, the majority of the people were at the back of the club, near the bar or in the far corners so it was pretty empty in front of the stage and on the main dance-floor. During his set, Nolan selected 2002 – 2003 tunes and juggled on riddims like Diwali, Buyout and the Buzz at 4 o’clock in the morning. The selection was not fitting with the theme of the night in general and this prevented the vibes from reaching anywhere. I still can’t believe that I heard no Beres Hammond, Garnett Silk, Capleton, conscious Sizzla… No Anthony B, Everton Blender, Chuck Fender, Bob Marley or any other Marley… You get my drift.
It is at this point that the event started suffering from attrition and people began to trickle out one by one. I am sure patrons wondered if the artists they had paid to see were even in Atlanta at all, I know I did. Eventually the MC came back on stage to resume the stage show after the long break and brought out Anthony Malvo. There was still no band in sight, but at least there was a known reggae artist. Anthony Malvo was able to entertain the crowd singing covers of different reggae hits mostly, and his biggest response was in tribute to the late great Alton Ellis.
It was great to see band members emerge and take there place along with Delly who travelled from Jamaica to be the official MC/host. It was around 5am now, and whoever had stuck around that long had to be glad to know that Luciano would be coming out soon. Delly then introduced Papa Michi, Michigan from the foundation DJ duo Michigan and Smiley. I was shocked just to see this artist still performing at his age, but he went through some covers, another Alton Ellis tribute with the same songs Anthony Malvo sang, and also performed the 1980 hit, Diseases. Not bad at all, I just wished it was at least 3 hours earlier.
Queen Ifrica touched the stage and pulled stragglers in from the far corners of Club Intrigue to the front of the stage. She was well received and sang all her hits from the past 2 years, stopping only to give relevant speeches and introduce her songs like a pro. She worked well with the band and stayed on stage for approximately 30 minutes, ending off with her current hit tune, ‘Keep it to Yourself.’ Her performance was short and sweet.
Tony Rebel was up next. Rebel Tony showed poise and veteranship while on stage. He immediatley commanced attention from the crowd and went through the hits that he is know for globally, including Fresh Vegetable, Chatty Chatty, and If Jah. He also gave some lyrics about the rise of President Barack Obama to bring it current. Tony Rebel’s segment was longer than Queen Ifrica’s – I’d say about 45 minutes, which meant that now it was 6:30am.
Luciano took the stage to close the show and was well worth the wait. I will continue to support this artist because of the vibes and energy he puts into his shows. He skanked, jumped, and tumbled across the stage. He prayed for Barack Obama and gave good reports from his trip to Kenya, which was during the time of the recent Presidential election in the US. Luci did hits from different albums, but while singing Glory Be, given the signal that he had to leave to catch his plane. His performance ended up being not much longer than some of the opening acts which is sad, however in the short time he was on stage (at almost 7am) he was still able to completely energize the audience and get everyone back onto their feet and in a vibes. Then he stopped the last song and had the band start over, playing low so he could at least finish properly, kneeling down to say a prayer in the process. The Messenger Luciano shook the hands of all who were near enough to the stage and posed for pictures as if truly grateful for the opportunity to carry out his life mission – to spread Jah love and a conscious message through singing.
Please share your comments on these artists, concerts or events you have been to, etc. I will be breaking down the Atlanta dancehall scene in depth in future posts so you will want to stay tuned, trust me. That’s all for now.