Spice ruled Dancehall Night - Beenie, Bounty, Dexter Daps, others also sizzled
In comparison to previous stagings, Friday night’s edition of Dancehall Night at Reggae Sumfest 2016 was quite tame. However, the likes of Spice, Nesbeth, Dexta Daps, Bounty Killer, I-Octane and Popcaan all did enough to give patrons some measure of satisfaction.
For the promoters, who were experimenting with an ‘all Jamaican’ cast for the first time, they too must have been quite satisfied, as despite not having the customary top-flight foreign acts, the fans nonetheless turned out in encouraging numbers to give the Catherine Hall centre a good crowd.
Nesbeth produced the first real spark at Catherine Hall, St James, with songs like Guns Out, Board House, Fake Friend and Old Gangalee. He got emotional as he related an earlier encounter with a hotel staffer, who innocently asked him for his wife, not knowing that she had died. Nesbeth went into top gear, rolling through some of his catchy songs before all but bringing the house down with a masterful rendition of his mega-hit, My Dream.
Spice entered on a moving staircase, surrounded by her Team Spice dancers. She was in complete command, drawing rich applauds as she sizzled with songs like, Indicator, Needle Eye and Romping Shop, the enduring hit she did with the incarcerated dancehall maestro, the lyrical Vybz Kartel.
Bounty Killer, who entered after an imperious performance by I-Octane, was quite powerful and evoked memories of his hey-days. He added some fresh flavour to his set by inviting a few of his friends to perform, inclusive of Aiesha Davis and Safari, who both gave pleasing displays.
I-Octane left no doubt, that he is superstar material and one of the pillars destined to hold up reggae music for years to come. His dancing, stinging social commentary, the timely delivery of his hits and his confidence, was clearly that of a man on a special mission.
Romain Virgo was his usual composed self, working the fans into a tizzy, as he wrapped his velvet smooth voice around hits like, Live My Life, Way Too Beautiful, Love Doctor and Dirty Heart. However, it was Dexter Daps who emerged as the big winner among the ladies. In a polished performance, which belied in limited experience, he had the ladies going wild.
Agent Sasco and Popcaan both played mature sets, taking the fans through a joyful journey of hits. Popcaan shared his set with rising young star Vershon, who was billed for the show but did not perform in his allotted slot.
Beenie Man, who was given the task of closing the show, sprang a major surprise when he invited Tommy Lee, who was banned from Sumfest last year, to share his set. He also brought on Jahmeil, who did not appear in his designated slot earlier.