Cricket Sta­dium tran­forms into a Soca King­dom for a Night

The Star (St. Lucia) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Some­one once told me he knew only two peo­ple who dis­liked soca mu­sic and he gave them as wide a berth as he could. He rea­soned: there had to be some­thing very wrong about a per­son who did not en­joy a good melody and a call from a soca singer to loosen up and en­joy life, if only for a few min­utes! Hun­dreds came out on Wed­nes­day night to do just that at the Daren Sammy Cricket Sta­dium, at­tracted by the Den­nery Seg­ment and soca kings Machel Mon­tano and Su­perblue.

Three things I've now learned: peo­ple love a good DJ but when they've been promised a live per­for­mance they'll set­tle for noth­ing less. Two and a half hours into the event on Wed­nes­day the fans were still be­ing bom­barded by DJs ap­peal­ing to “sin­gle and in­de­pen­dent ladies” to put their hands up. Mean­while the ladies, with clenched fists aloft, were im­pa­tiently de­mand­ing that the show get un­der­way.

Even­tu­ally Den­nery Seg­ment de­liv­ered their ex­tremely high-en­ergy cypher. One by one they burst onto the stage: Mi­i­gos & Mata, Black­boy, Ezra d'Fun Ma­chine, Kisha, Big Sea, Mighty & Sur­bance, among oth­ers, to estatic cheers. The se­cond thing I learned, judg­ing by crowd re­views: cyphers— which give artists the op­por­tu­nity to per­form a few pre­pared lines—work well for rap­pers. But for Den­nery Seg­ment lovers, it was the whole thing or noth­ing. No half­way mea­sures for them; no tit­il­la­tion sans cli­max!

An­other DJ break fol­lowed and, though his reg­gae, dance­hall and soca fu­sion was wel­comed, af­ter an hour or so the crowd let it be known that they re­ally had turned out mainly for the show's head­liner: “We want Machel! We want Machel!”

The star opened his set with a solo ren­di­tion of the song that had in­spired the event's ti­tle, “Soca King­dom”. The mo­ment he hit the stage, all sins were for­given. Not for noth­ing is Machel “Monk” Mon­tano con­sid­ered the soca artist of the gen­er­a­tion. The man makes the en­er­gizer bunny seem like he needs a picker-up­per. With care­fully chore­ographed moves, crowd en­gage­ment and great vo­cals, Machel gave the fans what they needed—and more.

The third thing I learned on Wed­nes­day night: the soca king knows ex­actly where the ladies' but­tons are and, boy oh boy, no one knows bet­ter how to press those but­tons. In no time at all, the ladies were try­ing to claw their way to the stage, ev­i­dently de­ter­mined to shake what their ma­mas gave them along­side the soca mag­net. The par­tic­u­lar plea­sure went to Motto, Ted­dyson John and Ricky T who, to the crowd's de­light, all joined Machel on stage. The night was topped off by an­other ren­di­tion of Soca King­dom, this time fea­tur­ing Su­perblue him­self. No doubt, de­spite gripes through­out the night, the crowd left pumped for the up­com­ing car­ni­val pa­rades.

Den­nery Seg­ment(DS) artists line up for a bow af­ter the first ever DS cypher.

Machel Mon­tano (left) wel­comed Motto on stage for a quick Trini-Lu­cian soca combo.

Soca danc­ing needs to be an Olympic sport.

Soca King­dom crowd at the height of their en­joy­ment.

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