|Khago; GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza|
It was a night on which patrons were treated to several highs as most of the acts brought their ‘A’ game to ‘Extravaganza’ hoping to impress their fans while securing their position on the event for next year.
Bounty Killer, who closed the show, was still on a high from his recent battle with Beenie Man at Diamond Splash in Negril a few days prior.
In between his songs, Killer gave snippets of the "killing". “Me ask the people dem to point on Shebada friend and when the whole venue point pon the Beenie guy, me see him a try come over to my side of the stage. Me just walk way,” Killer said in reference to the lyrical killing. Bounty then called on Kip Rich and the two lashed out at all their enemies and potential enemies – from Merciless to Kartel to Chatterhorn (Matterhorn).
Interestingly, Khago too, chipped off a little piece of the war, during his blistering setbigr in which he performed a mix of conscious lyrics and “gal tune”. The artiste, who is under new management and has been flying out regularly, has improved his stagecraft and the effective use of punchlines. He made reference to A St Mary Mi Come From, at which Capleton brokered peace with him, I-Octane and Teflon, who he later called up on stage. But, clearly there is still some lingering tension between him and I-Octane, with Khago stating that he didn’t want a “piece of any peace”. His wordplay went over well. Appropriately, Khago ended his set with his monster hit Nah Sell Out Mi Friend Dem.
In-demand artiste, I-Octane, entered centrestage to thunderous horns, ‘clappas’ and huge bonfires, reminiscent of his Reggae Sumfest performance. He dictated that the lights on stage should be turned “low” so that the appreciation showed by his fans would have full effect. I-Octane then delivered a slew of hits and even took time out to remember Kartel, pointing out that “Addie say a nuff bwoy him help and him don’t even get a phone card.”
Clearly, selector-turned-artiste, Matterhorn, was not in the audience when veterans John Holt and Coco Tea were performing so he could really appreciate the value of being an “old artiste”. Using a blend of on-stage charisma, expertise and repertoire, John Holt thrilled his older fans and had the young patrons engulfed in admiration. Coco Tea, who performed much later, offered a sweet brew and his four-song set was closer to fourteen, but nobody would have wanted it any different.
Rising Stars alum, Romaine Virgo, stamped his class on Extravaganza and fans showed him real love. Romaine, who scored chartwise with the song Can’t Sleep, has developed a loyal fan base who seems to know all his songs word-for-word.
Lutan Fyah must be commended for doing a mature and highly entertaining set which is in keeping with his 'livity' and shows a departure from the anti-homosexual lyrics which he used to save specially for stage. Poor People's Defender, Chuck Fenda, worked hard and earned his applause and so too did D'Angel. Macka Diamond, dressed in a revealing lace body suit, with her dancers in tow, showed her passion for “cow foot” and seemed more intent on scoring with comedy rather than with songs.
Headline act Mavado, despite having an arsenal of hit songs, failed to really impress and show the desired growth. The Gully God teased fans with no more than three lines of any song and as soon as they started to enjoy, it was time to “cut dat” and move on to another. Twin of Twin gave a too-short set, which was interrupted by Matterhorn, the man who has become a thorn in their side. Upcoming act Specialist was unrecognizable and instead of just doing his popular “phone card” song and one other, he tried to stir up a minor war with another artiste who was not even on the show.
However, a wild card who goes by the name Hitman Wally, proved quite a treat. A ‘trying artiste” (who, incidentally, is yet to have a hit), this act did well for himself, coming after a good set from D’Angel. A little over three feet tall and full of lyrics, this hitman was all war. “Killer know say him not even bad like my lickle toe,” was his no-nonsense. Wally also had choice words for Merciless, Kip Rich, Beenie, Khago, Matterhorn, the Twins, Specialist and others.
On the downside, there were acts like Spice who did not get to perform, owing to time constraints. Notwithstanding, GT Taylor and his crew must be commended for a putting together a great production. Stage, sound and lights were impressive and as the show continued its tradition of bring totally incident-free.
Jagra GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza took place at Independence Park, Black River, St Elizabeth.Sponsors of the event include Jagra, Irie FM, CVM, On Stage, Zip FM, Linkz FM, Downsound Records, Five Star Recording, Best of Jamaica TV, Spendless Night Club, Allen’s Texaco, Lynch Auto Parts, Ward’s Power Tools and Supplies, Bari Enterprise, Vision, Eezy Ice, Sealand Foods, Rum Cream, Red Label, Stone’s Ginger Wine, Outaroad.com, one876entertainment.com and Stampede Street Charts.