Confusion over the accuracy of reports about an incident that took place during the recent Pirates Week festivities has led to different accounts about whether a local band’s performance was hijacked by Cayman Music and Entertainment Association President Jean-Eric Smith.
According to Shane Allenger of Hi Tide, he and his band were scheduled to perform on Saturday night in George Town shortly before the main act of the evening – Image and Company – took the stage, when their set was unceremoniously interrupted by the president of the CMEA, also known as “Notch”.
“He came on stage with a mic and simply would not leave. I have no idea who gave him a mic or what he was doing on the stage,” Mr. Allenger said. He said earlier in the evening, another member of Hi Tide – Sean Hennings – “bumped into Notch” walking to the event. He said Sean told the president he was on his way to perform in George Town, to which Mr. Smith replied, “I’ll see you there.”
Once it was time to start the show, Mr. Allenger recounted, “Notch appeared on the stage in the middle of one of the songs we were delivering and simply would not leave.
“At first we thought fine, maybe it’s just one song and he is going to let us finish when this tune is done,” said Mr. Allenger, who said this was not the case.
“He simply carried on singing and we could not stop the show in front of thousands of people,” he said.
This account of the incident was seconded by a sound engineer working on the evening, who said once the show started, Notch approached him and asked for a mic, which he supplied not realising there would be an issue.
Mr. Allenger said he would not have gone public with the story had the president of the Music Association apologised for his actions, but insisted that was not the case.
“When I called him to confront him on the matter he told me to (expletive) off,” Mr. Allenger said.
Mr. Smith spoke exclusively with the Compass concerning the matter and vehemently denied taking over Hi Tide’s show.
“Firstly, when I go on stage I am not the president of the CMEA. At that point in time I am Notch the performer and Shane and Hi Tide should be ashamed for attempting to bring the association into disrepute. If it was a problem, he should have said something that night rather than calling me at my home ranting in the morning.”
He added, “It is a personal issue as a singer I feel, as he does not have a problem when I cover for him at Deckers during his “Godspell” performances, so what is so different about Pirates Week?”
Smith contends he was invited to sing at the show by the director of Pirates Week.
“I feel it’s more a matter of jealousy, as maybe I sang better than he did. This is my impression after reading his remarks on Facebook about me taking his time to shine. Pirates Week is about everyone shining and it seems I am the lone voice for working together and cohesiveness in the music community,” the CMEA president said.
He went on to say what was truly sad was there were no local acts even featured in the Pirates Week brochure, despite the bevy of great local talent coming through the musical ranks, adding that with regard to him not greeting Allenger’s calls for an apology sympathetically the next day, “Anyone who calls me first thing in the morning had better have something good to say, at the very least, the conversation should start with good morning. A lot of people have been berating me on Facebook and saying things that are not becoming of myself unfairly. They are jumping to conclusions and judgement without the facts.
“I am a fruitful bow and the archers have sorely grieved me this time. However, I will continue to do the right thing for all musicians and not just working for myself, as is the case with most musicians on the Islands currently.”