ASHTON, Union Is., March 30, IWN – A three-hour performance by Antiguan soca band Burning Flames contributed to what organisers have described as one of the best Soca Fest here.
The show, which forms part of the Easterval celebrations, began around 1 a.m. Sunday, about three hours later than scheduled.
But patrons didn’t seem to mind. For when the action began, albeit slowly at first, it continued to intensify, reaching vertigo levels during the performance of Burning Flames, which graced the stage around 3 a.m.
A moderate downpour at 2:06 a.m. did very little to cool down the raving party animals. But Burning Flames used slower versions of some of the hits that had sent them stampeding throughout the night to re-herd them and send them home satisfied, sometime before 6 a.m. Sunday.
Patrons and journalists not accustomed to parties on Union Island, and who turned up in time or a few minutes after the 10 p.m. scheduled start time, might have wondered if a party in fact would have taken place that night.
After all, patrons, who had not secured the early bird tickets at $40, or the regularly priced $50 passes, were being asked to pay $60 at the door — a figure approaching the price that patrons would be asked to pay to see a foreign artiste perform in St. Vincent, where the population is significantly larger.
And, those unaccustomed to parties in Union Island might have been in that state of doubt until 12:28, when, besides the DJ music that had been playing all along, as patrons began to trickle in, the Ashton Hard Court began to display some signs that Soca Fest was in fact going to take place.
Then, about one minute later, some musician appeared on stage, fiddled with their instruments, then left.
At 12:58, almost three hours after the show should have started, the emcee appeared on stage and announced that the show was about to begin, and called on patrons outside to enter.
The first act on stage was Energy, a band from Union Island, which did several numbers by Vincentian soca artistes, including Skarpyan, Winston Soso, and Madzart.
And as Energy released the sounds of the groovy soca songs, a couple in matching blue tops rocked steady, even as woman, decked out in white and green tops and a synthetic hairpiece of matching colours showed that even those without dance partners can have equal fun.
And, as Energy upped the tempo, their lanky lead singer did a rendition of “Tek Dat” even as his close-fitting (skinny) jeans further restricted the range of motion in his waist that nature itself, or his own inhibitions, seemed to have curtailed.
But the crowd, judging from its reaction thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle.
The show also saw performances from two artistes for the neighbouring island of Carriacou.
Shanda, who was a tad bit more than full-bodied, called on patrons to come closer to the stage.
“I know I am fat, but I am not fierce,” she said and added that she was there to represent the fat women.
And if any of the other full-bodied women needed a confidence booster, Shanda delivered, with a joke about good pussies needing shelter.
She said that Burning Flames will deliver with the fast songs but said Chubby women tire quickly.
She called for a male member of the crowd to dance with her and they displayed all the slow, sexually suggestive dance moves, involving mostly the waistline, that are characteristic of many soca performances.
And, besides the blue orthopaedic sleeves that Shanda wore on her right arms, which came across more as part of her outfit, some patrons might have never imagined that she had torn a ligament in the arm when she fell while playing netball Thursday night.
Super Star, another artiste from Carriacou, sang about needing “some body healing”. She rooted for the single ladies and urged women to give a one-way ticket out their life to unfaithful men.
“This is a one-way ticket. Take it and go,” she sang.
First Lady of St. Vincent gave a performance that belied the suggestion of her name that she is close to presidential.
Her performance can be summed up in five words: slackness, and more explicit slackness.
Further, in her song, she gave advice that some dermatologist and persons advocating self-love and pride in African heritage would object to: “bleached face a nah nutten,” she sang.
And as the time moved up to 2:43 a.m., it was not surprising that at least one Demon was on the prowl. The artiste from Union Island, used his few minutes on state to represent for the Southern Greandine island that was hosting hundred of visitors for the major festival.
It was not until about 3 a.m. that Burning Flames began performing — about 20 years since they last did a show here.
The band displayed many of the attributes that distinguish it for other performers across the region.
They began their performance without a single word of talk — not even a greeting. They were there to sing, and sing they did.
It was not until lead singer, Onion, stopped playing to have a broken string in his guitar changed — having abandoned an attempt to have it done even as he played — that another member of the band spoke – explaining the hiccup.
But he did not talk for long either, and quickly began singing a song, flowing smoothly with the rest of the band, which had continued playing all along.
The band played from its wide repertoire, including songs by artiste from the English-, Spanish-, and French-speaking Caribbean.
But they also played many of their own songs, including the controversial “Kick in she back door”, which sent women’s rights and anti-violence advocates across the region writing and speaking in protest against what they said it was advocating, when it was released last year.
Burning Flames, with just a drumroll, moved seamlessly from soca to reggae, and the other genres that it performed.
Among the persons dancing to the bands music was Southern Grenadines representative Terrance Ollivierre, who showed that his moves are not limited to politics and that he can move, even when his profile is lowered to knee height.
At 5:35 a.m. Fireman Hooper, who had preformed from his own extensive repertoire earlier, joined Burning Flames on stage.
Fireman sang Alston “Becket” Cyrus’ ‘Teaser”.
He also gave Burning Flames a few tips on the commands that send his fans moving.
He further told Onion that they have not sang “Island Girl”, which was written in Union Island, but the Antiguan artiste, responded saying that he can sing a song that Fireman has never heard — one written even before the Vincentian artiste was born.
And the Antiguan band, unlike Fireman, gave a taste of what they have to offer when that country holds its carnival in late July.
The song talks about what they artiste will like to do before they die: the themes, maybe unsurprisingly, sexual.
Mad skull, an artiste from Union Island and, his counterpart Wizkid, from St. Vincent, also performed at the show Saturday night.
Easterval celebrations continue today –Sunday, with nine women from across the region vying for Miss Easterval 2013.