An Outstanding performance was promised by representatives of Machel’s management at Thursday morning’s press conference, (28th June, 2012) and surely fans of the St. Kitts Music Festival were not disappointed.
There is no doubt that this energetic and creative performer understands what it takes to make it big, not in the Caribbean but internationally. For him, it is not simply about entering the stage to sing and jump up, it is about “putting on a show”. And that he did on Thursday night at Warner Park, when the 16th edition of the festival opened, with what is known as “Soca Night”.
This year marks 30 years since Machel’s entry into the calypso/soca arena and it is obvious that he has matured into a super performer, in the same mold as the late and original soca king of the world, Montserrat’s Mighty Arrow.
Machel has already expressed his wish, that as he celebrates his 30th anniversary, he is on a mission to spread soca and to assist others who are eyeing a career in the industry. He has performed in St. Kitts on numerous occasions, dating back to the 1980s.
Using a combination of dance, theatre and music, Machel exercised all his skills to draw audience attention and involvement from the moment he entered the stage; keeping patrons affixed until the end of his 3 hour set, that ended around 3:30pm.
As soon as the crowd seemed to be getting a little tired, Montano created antics to make them alert again. He also brought Soca compatriot Patrice Roberts, to perform with him.
It was also a night for Shakki Star Fire, Ali Dee, Nicha B and Road March Champs from St. Kitts, Grand Masters. One could only wonder however, what it would have been like had both Shakki and Alie Dee had the opportunity of a much longer performance set, rather than the very brief period of approximately 10 minutes. Both ladies have again demonstrated that they possess the raw ingredients that could propel them into huge international soca stars, provided they have the right management and guidance.
Nicha B proved that he is just as good as any; blending his reggae hits with his soca tunes with the help of his dance group and a contingent of folklore performers, including the Bull Clowns and even the Newtown Iron Band.
The first performer, Spectrum Band, got the ball rolling, blazing some of their hits, as well as a few local classics; much to the delight of the Kittitian/Nevisian fans.
Local Band Grand Masters sent the crowd into raptures with their popular local tunes but also included songs from Small Axe and the Nu Vybes International, indicating that they were representing the federation. Grand Masters’ performance however often caused fans to get involved in scuffles but these were easily dealt with by the security forces.
Just after 9:00 pm the stage was invaded by the ever popular Krosfyah Band who rolled back the years with their old hits as well as some recent tunes.
With the recent death of Masud Sadiki, artistes last night took time to pay tribute to the fallen artiste who was already booked and advertised to perform at the festival. Sadiki died a few weeks ago, in what has been described as suicide.
Government Minister Glen Phillip, who is also the parliamentary representative for the home town of Masud, led a one minute silence to honour the Kittitian Superstar. This was followed by the tribute, featuring the Limitless Band that was only recently formed by the late singer.
The 3 night festival continues Friday and ends on Saturday. Amongst those scheduled to perform on Friday are Damion Marley, Popcaan, I-Octane, Morgan Heritage, Courtney Pine, Eric Donaldson and Lovindeer.
Though the crowd took some time to build, organizers should be somewhat pleased with the overall attendance on Thursday, though this is only estimated to have been about 2,500 fans. Festival planners have expressed concerns that the crowd support for Thursday, has been dwindling in recent years.