A GREAT NIGHT TWO OF “REBEL SALUTE 22”
By Baldwin Howe
The annually held, “Rebel Salute”, now in its 22nd year, was once again a success. The stellar event has grown to be a genuine “Reggae Festival” in its own right. This year it has morphed into being a two day event from Jan. 16 – 17, and was staged at the Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, Priory, St. Ann. The feedback I got about Friday night, was that it was quite entertaining. I was at the Saturday night staging of the event.
The Mighty Diamonds were one of the acts that stood out for me. Their smooth harmonies were flawless. They sounded as fresh as ever delivering such classics as, “Pass the Kutchie”, “I Need a Roof”, “When the right Time Come”, among several others, including Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Reasons.” Diamionds offering were well received and fully appreciated.
Freddie McGregor, Captain of the “Big Ship”, also registered a great set. From the pitch of his very first note he had the gathering singing along with him. Some of the hits which flowed from his lips were, ”Poor is a Crime”, “Prophecy”, “Big ship”, “Push Come to Shove”, among several others. When he switched gears and went into his “lovers rock” mode the female patrons became ecstatic as they all sang along loudly to, “Brandy”, “I’ll Wait for you” plus, “I Just don’t want to be lonely” to mention a few. Freddie also delved into some very old ska favourites, namely, “Carry go bring come”, “Wings of a Dove” and a few others.
Queen Ifrica, (Fire Mumma), was one of the top female headliners of this year’s event, and she was certainly on “fire.” During her heated set she performed, “Born Free”, “Loneliness on the rise”, “let’s get silly”, “Below the waist”, Keep it to yourself”, and of course her song relating to sexual abuse, ”I’m gonna tell on you”, were all well received by the audience.
Other performers worthy of note are, Echo Minott, a veteran dancehall singer, he did an excellent set in wich he resurrected, “What the Hell the Police Can do”, “Mad over Me” and “Lazy Body.” Fanton Mojah, Leroy Gibbons, Richie Spice, Shuga, plus internationally renowned Inner circle Band, (now based in the U. S.). Also registered good performances.
A very long night of excellent performances ushered in the dawn Sunday Jan. 18 and then came Luciano, spiritually powerful as ever, veteran Cocoa T and Sizzla Kolanji. These three acts were the final ones to perform. One has to admit their performances were worth waiting for.
The only bad spot, as performance goes, must be attributed to Leroy Smart. From the very outset he could not do anything to satisfy the audience numbering several thousands. He was booed non-stop and his arrogance earned him even louder boos. We learned that Leroy Smart is the very first act to have ever been booed at “Rebel Salute.”
The overall production of “Rebel Salute 2015” must be given an “A” grade. The Audio, lighting and the ambiance of the venue were perfect. The promoters could however consider adding a day to the festival to accommodate the length of the line up
By Baldwin Howe