QQ and Vegas live in concert – hmm. I’d seen Vegas so many times before, and QQ as far as I was concerned was a ‘girls’ artist, meaning man don’t really dance to his tunes, still I found myself gravitating to this crowd. Worse, I had a friend who was aware of my absenteeism, and he had insisted that it was time for both of us to go back into the trenches of the dancehall, or risk loosing touch with a scene that is once again turning over it’s audience right in front of our eyes. His best asset however was his offer to drive that night, as long as I hooked up tickets (LOL). One phonecall later and the deal was done, seeing Vegas and QQ was the plan for the busy long weekend Friday, where down the street at the JCA, performing live was none other than LUST, who I’d also seen and photographed up close in concert.
Big up Luxy Nightclub – their team of promoters pulled off another really cool dancehall event that entirely pleased their mostly female audience that night. I big up Luxy and their promotional team because in a time when the raw dancehall culture seems to be shrinking and morphing into a commercialized state, this venue has stayed consistent in presenting a raw flavor to the city with on point, up to date and relevant dancehall artists appearing quite regularly for shows mostly catering to the tastes of their regular Friday Night clientele, and in essence is playing their part in keeping this culture alive. Luxy knows what they’re doing, even if it means sometimes going in pocket and taking a slight financial loss in order to give their massive exactly what they want.
Luxy was packed up with QQ and Vegas fans when I walked inside the club, and people were having a great time dancing to the sound of the Dee-jays while waiting for showtime, which started just after 2am when the bar closed. After this, QQ was the first artist to take the stage. Dressed in all white (tight pants and all), QQ took the stage with confidence and controlled it from start to finish. He has a short list of songs, being a relatively new 6-year artist who has turned from man to boy in front of our eyes since his “Stookie” hit back in 2008 all the way to his present “One Drop” single which has done really well to establish him career.
QQ’s show was good, but typical for an artist in this stage of development. It seemed that QQ just got his songs ‘out of the way’ because the vast majority of the show was spent entertaining the audience with dance contests and demonstrations involving participants from the audience coming on stage and volunteering to partner up with QQ as he demonstrated his new song and dance called “The Hammer”. The mostly female audience loved it, as QQ had one girl at a time in the spotlight, girls who didn’t mind bending over, touching their toes and ‘assuming the position’ while QQ proceeded to basically ‘hamme’r them from behind in classic backshot style while often slapping their backsides the way a jockey would whip his horse in race. If anyone considered these styles explicit or degrading to women, those people were not in the audience. It was supposed to be just innocent dancehall fun, and QQ, being young fresh and sex-symbolish in the eyes of the women there, could not do anything wrong as he handled every female volunteer who took the stage like a real man would (the pics speak for themselves LOL).
I said earlier in this article that I had seen Mr Vegas in concert before, quite a few time actually. He is and has always been one of my favorite dancehall artists, and I have also interviewed him several times during his career. As he gracefully ages into becoming an elder artist, Mr Vegas stays truly talented and keeps getting better with time, a feat only a few artists can manage in a quickly changing dancehall. For whatever reason, this show was an average show for Vegas, who seemed to be tiring or lacking energy compared to previous shows. Although he was the headline act, Vegas did what he has done before, which is take a very casual approach to his concert performance. Personally, I feel Mr Vegas is at a stage where he may be a bit bored and may feel he has nothing to prove, having literally done it all in dancehall.
Dressed in a black and white N.W.A T-shirt with baseball hat, Vegas gave the audience sample of his hit songs in a fast moving show that also incorporated his dee-jay playing classic dancehall hits to the delight of the audience who one would’ve thought had heard it all before in the events leading up to the live show. Of course, Vegas would also stray from his own classic collection of personal hits to entertain the crowd with more samples of tunes belonging to other classic dancehall artists, a tradition at most Vegas shows. Performing hit after hit was not a problem for Vegas that night, who is used to having crowds in his hands.
Vegas closed off his show with a dance competition, as promised, it would be Bruk It Down vs One Drop. Vegas would now bring QQ back to the stage, and in another tactical move, chose to lay back and have QQ take over the MC’ing duties. QQ was so young, my feeling was Vegas was trying to keep out of the spotlight to help bus QQ. More female volunteers were invited back to the stage to compete, and in the end the winner of the cash envelope (I’m not sure but I think it contained $1,000 cash) turned out to be the girl from St. Lucia (sorry I didn’t get her name) who had little competition when it came to dancing the One Drop and Bruck It Down. Congratulations to her – she could dance, I seen some moves I didn’t know could be done by the human body!
That’s about it in terms of a review. The place was packed and people had fun, bottom line. The city needs more shows like this! I look forward to what’s to come. Big up everybody who was there!