Killer consistent on cruise

December 04, 2015
Mel Cooke Elephant Man (left) and King Jammys during the Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise.

Closing off Wednesday night's concert on the 2015 Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise as the Norwegian Pear sailed along Jamaica's North Coast from Montego Bay, St James, to Ocho Rios, St Ann, Bounty Killer was consistent to the on-stage persona which he has shown on land.

He did an extended performance, which went over very well with the audience of mainly non-Jamaicans. A blue haired Elephant Man, who led the concert goers in dances such as the Log On and Willie Bounce, asked for help to heave a large bodied lady out of the audience to run and leap on his anaconda, handling her with ease. He had two turns at the stage in different styles, as Elephant Man also took the microphone briefly as King Jammys played in the sound system segment after the concert.

The live mixing by Jammys and Jam 2 was worth the wait for those who stood their ground through the extensive set-up period. They were rewarded with the unexpected treat of a freestyling Shinehead, who was joined by Jr Gong, the two riding the rockers rhythms. At one point Shinehead went into a rap style, and asking "a rap you go pon me?", Jr Gong followed suit.

strict dancehall

Busy Signal opened the night with a number of slower tracks (One More Night and Night Shift among them) in his set, adding a take-off of Don't Worry, Be Happy. Also departing from strict dancehall was the uptempo Major Lazer-produced Watch Out Fi Dis, but he rode a rockers rhythm to do Reggae Music Again and also did Dreams of Brighter Days, written while in prison.

Super Cat, clad in green and wearing a hat, strutted to and from on the stage as he did songs at length. He did extended deejaying on the Answer rhythm, Vineyard Style and the chant Jah Jah you are my guiding star among the steady rocking tracks. When the band was moving on he asked for the rhythm again to pay tribute to Jamaica, Jamaica.

fell short

Jah Cure appealed to his female fan base and was rewarded with squeals of delight as he invited them to call on him whenever the need for a lover arose. The natural second part to that appeal, When I Find That Girl, had to be restarted, although the remake of All of Me fell short of the mark. Love Is and True Reflection continued the concert.

Popcaan was confident enough in his growing catalogue to open with Raving. Way Up and the seller's cry turned song "hot grabber" served Popcaan well, but as happened at points with Elephant Man, the lyrics were unclear through the music. And, as happened with Busy Signal, at points Popcaan's

slower tracks showed up vocal weaknesses at the intersection between singing and deejaying.

When Popcaan said "me ago call up the legendary now", it was obvious that Bounty Killer was next. He lived up to the respectful introduction, starting with Lodge and going through to the closing line "before dem seek God, dem seek de devil" much later.

In between Bounty Killer did Mystery, Top A Top, War Beyond the Stars and Suspense, claiming his invitation to "run come up inna me Magnum bway" as the ultimate Christmas carol.

Look was positioned as being for the oppressed the world over, Benz and Bimmer was for the ladies' waistlines and, as it was a cruise and the sea at hand, No Fren Fish was a

natural choice.

Bounty kept a running narrative between songs, sometimes stopping the band as they

started the next song in order to make his point.

"Any man come pon de cruise wid fren' me no trus him. An' me no trus no girl either. This name cruising. Cruisin was made for love," Bounty Killer said, also criticising those who vandalise and criminalise Jamaican music. He had strong words about scammers who prey on the elderly.

Bounty asked the Americans not to elect Donald Trump as US president and honoured his late mother.

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