Last Friday’s long-awaited Fantan Mojah concert was a fairly shambolic affair, which despite some strong – if brief – performances by Fantan and Turbulance, left most of the audience and artists short-changed.
Far from living up to its billing as A Night of Culture with a Vintage Experience for fans, the show at the Kings Sports Centre rink was marked by unexplained stops and starts, a no-show on stage by Sugar Minott, a barely there DJ, persistent sound problems and some fairly indifferent performances.
The reason the show ultimately fell short of expectations, despite promising an interesting blend of new and old, finally became apparent with the appearance of the last act, Fantan Mojah himself.
The running order following the local acts was Leroy Sibbles, Turbulance and Fantan Mojah.
Of the other featured artists, Sugar Minott, refused to take to the stage because of the payment issue. This led to the only remaining vintage artist, Leroy Sibbles, to appease the crowds.
Sibbles pulled out all the stops and wooed the crowd with a medley of yesteryear hits despite rumours that he, too, wasn’t paid in full.
His rendition of Rock Me Tonight, the smoochy Freddy Starr standard went down particularly well and it was his set that really saw an upward turn in the concert.
The penultimate act, Turbulance took the show to another level at around 2.30am. In keeping with his name he shook up things up a bit with his commanding and energetic stage presence.
Donning paramilitary gear, he stormed on stage and took the audience by the throat.
The artist sung his breakout hit Notorious much to the delight of the crowd. Would he had stayed on for a couple more songs, but he too, it can be assumed, was smarting under the same financial woes.
Reggae star Fantan Mojah, a serious presence on the current scene, leapt on stage at around 2.45am, a full 45 minutes after the show should have ended.
His sudden, unannounced appearance was the last of a series of unannounced events on the night. Nevertheless in true star style, he soon made his magnetism and unique presence felt.
Wasting no time he launched into his current hit Mamma Hungry, Pappa Hungry. Having struck the right note with crowd, the cultural artist then set about setting the record straight. In a direct appeal to fans, he explained the poor first-half as being due to that the artists were in dispute with the US promoter and asked for a little understanding on the part of the audience.
Dressed in his ‘uniform’ of head wrap and army issue type garb, Fantan Mojah bounded about the stage for the brief remainder of his set, which included It Don’t Take One Day and One Night.
At one point the artist quite literally bonded with a fan as he grabbed a willing female from the crowd and serenade her.
As soon as the final song was sung at around 3am, the crowd immediately headed for the parking lot and dispersed into the starry George Town night leaving Fantan Mojah with a TV crew.
To show the spirituality and down-to-earth nature of the man, this reviewer will share something with readers. Despite the financial wrangling and the frustration of the show not going to plan Fantan Mojah still had time to sing his song Feel The Pain to this very pregnant woman and her child. It was a very intense three minutes.
Despite the milling crowds and the TV crew it was if we were the only three people present. I came away feeling humbled and strangely sanctified.
One reveller who witnessed this was Paula from Bodden Town. Her estimation of the reggae singer now having gone up by several degrees, she referring to Turbulance and Fantan Mojah as being special performers. And in her opinion the show had picked up considerably in the second half.
‘Those guys were powerful, spiritual and had really positive vibes. We need more of that type of positive music in our community considering the increase in violence.’
Of the local acts that performed that night, starting at midnight, the one who delivered most was Little Pinch. He exuded confidence with his direct and engaging manner.
The Kingston-born resident leapt around the stage winding and grinding to the delight of the crowd singing about how it really was. Dressed in a dapper suit and highly polished shoes he had clearly set out to impress.
According to the lyrics in his song, Yardie Jamaican men are bossy and Jamaican women are feisty. These sentiments, coupled with his on stage antics and larger than life presence, had the audience howling with laughter and nodding their heads furiously.
The other local acts included Rezel, Maize and Millennium Kidd.