Dancehall Tunnup turned out to be a very nice event last Saturday inside Revival. When I arrived at the venue shortly after 11:00 pm, there was already a steady line up of people outside the doors, many sporting festive moods despite the rain and groggy pre-fall temperatures. I couldn’t recall ever being inside Revival before (I’m sure I’ve been there though), but I immediately took a liking to the venue, a perfect size I thought for the 300 – 350 people that would attend the show.
After a thorough search from security, I walked into a venue, greeted a few people I knew (or who ‘knew’ me) then made my way to the stage where to my surprise, Ricky Turbo (one of the main event promoters) was playing the music and doing the mic talking by himself. This in itself, I thought, could be a key to any forthcoming disorganization; but the other DJ’s hired for the bill had not yet shown up, hence Ricky Turbo having to to do what he was doing. Eventually, after about 10 minutes, Fire Kid Steenie appeared and was instructed to take over DJ duties. Blax Dun Da Place would be next to stroll in, but wouldn’t play until later.
I was able to chill back stage for a bit with Ricky and help keep him calm as he fine tuned with me (I was the event MC) the schedule for the remainder of the night. I met his promotional partner same time, the very lovely Black Pear Entertainment, co-presenter of Dancehall Tunnup. When it was time to go to work, Lindo P. was the first artist to be introduced to the stage (1:15 am showtime). He put on a decent show, a little under 15 minutes before returning to join another (Hip-hop) artist named Marcus who rocked the crowd with a 5-minute performance.
General Degree was next, but before he was called to the stage, I was instructed to announce to the crowd that Mr. Lexx, at no fault of the promoters, had not made it into Canada due to work permit issues, and therefore would not be performing as promised. There was a slight hush from the crowd but the boos were soon dampened when the promoters followed up the announcement with a video showing Mr. Lexx apologizing for not being able to make it, and stating again that it was ‘no fault’ of the promoters. Now finally, it was showtime.
General Degree had a smooth performance, and was lyrically up to the time. This artist proved that his still has his gift for lyrical patter and flow, and even though he now in his 40’s, he still hasn’t lost a step. Seriously, one couldn’t have asked for any more from General Degree than they were given. His show was tight, he communicated well with the crowd, and he was confident yet humble throughout the entirety of his performance.
This was good for Degree, because only minutes earlier I had witnessed some panic back stage where he was still scrambling to find missing laptop tracks vital for his show. But nobody would know, and things show-wise, would work out, with a mic sounding nice, and an audience that was receptive and joyous enjoying every minute of General Degree strolling through his library of hits. General Degree’s performance took some people back in time, because it seemed like it was only yesterday that he was one of the rulers of dancehall sporting hits like “Granny”, “Mr. Do It Nice”, “Pianist”, and “When A Hold You Tonight”, just to name a few.
About 25 minutes later, with no time in between, show headliner Spragga Benz entered the stage, jumping in on the same riddim General Degree was riding – no introduction from any MC. To the delight of the audience, it was Spragga Benz showtime. Spragga, dressed in all-black, seemed very comfortable on stage. He didn’t just perform a string of unforgettable classics, he had fun doing it, smiling with the crowd and often standing at the very front of the stage directly in the face of his fans.
A little under a half hour later, when it seemed that the Spragga Benz show was complete, both he and General Degree were called back to the stage to accept special reggae achievement awards given to them by promoters for their lifetime contribution to the reggae music industry (cool gesture). Afterwards, both artists took to the stage and performed together inna dancehall stylee. It was near 3 am now, and the night had to come to a close. Some fans left, others stayed to meet, greet and take pics and selfies with Spragga and Degree. A good night overall – big up the promoters (Ricky Turbo and Black Pearl Entertainment) for bringing these classic foundation artists to the T-Dot and putting so many smiles on people’s faces. Enjoy the Pics.