I arrived at the venue a little after 10 PM to see Mighty Crown on stage in the middle of their ‘early warm’ set. It was still early, but, those in attendance were the first wave of people to come and build the scene. The order of the night was Super Fresh, King Turbo, Poison Dart and the Far East Rulaz – Mighty Crown. We had the hostess with the mostess, Ms. Tasha Rozez – she held her own throughout the night and kept the dance flowing and on time. With six rounds in total and four Sounds vying for first place, time management was essential.
Round 2 – Real Steel on Real Turntables
10:32 PM – The Real Steel round started with Super Fresh. They seemed excited to be ‘first up’ in this round which required each Sound to play vinyl (Real Steel) on real turntables. Super Fresh blazed a fire and spoke about the times when Sounds had to use cassettes to record. As older Sounds know, when going through the x-ray machines at the airport, you were not guaranteed to have music on that cassette when you got home. At this point, there was approximately 100-150 people in the venue and they continued to trickle in for the rest of the night. As Super Fresh continued to beat tunes from Barrington Levy, Shabba, Snagga Puss, Frisco Kid and Bounty, they got a little too excited and ended up bouncing the needle, but, made a quick recovery and set the tone for the rest of the round.
King Turbo was up next. Sharpe came on the mic to say that King Turbo would not be playing on the turntables. He told the crowd that “Everybody already know that KING TURBO have the dub them on ‘real steel’, but, due to some issue which we nah go into, we a play pon di laptop”. This to me, was a disappointment – I had arrived early, especially for this round. I’m sure many others felt the same way too. This was King Turbo’s first strike of the night. They did play well from the laptop and showcased some of their biggest dubplates from Leroy Sibbles to Dennis Brown. Right away, you could tell they were in good spirits. The chemistry between Sling Shot and Spex was obvious. Sharpe seemed to be comfortable controlling the mic, but needs more practice connecting his speech with the tunes. As a team they were prepared, even more so than for their own event ‘REAL STEEL’ back in January. Adding Sling Shot to the mix played a big factor in the success of the night for the King Turbo crew. Fatal Vibez seemed to play a consulting role in assisting King Turbo throughout the night.
Poison Dart came out on time and ready to play. They showed the range in their dub box and seemed to enjoy playing in the Real Steel round. Poison Dart had a slow start, but, made a steady build and won fans along the way with quality tunes from Sizzla to Dennis Brown. Taranchyla did well to educate the crowd on the history of vinyl and how it was made, schooling some of the younger selectors and DJs who have never had the pleasure of seeing vinyl pressed or having to carry the weight of a dub box.
Mighty Crown came with a plan. They knew what direction they would go in and never looked back for the rest of the night. Sami T proved to be a very entertaining MC, he was versatile and on point every time he touched the mic. He embodies what a true MC should be – he barely had to look when Ninja Crown was spinning on the wheels of steel and yet he didn’t miss a beat.
Round 3 – Singers & Combinations
11:30 PM – This round was supposed to be the Surprise Live Artists round. Tasha Rozez came on stage to announce there was a slight change to the schedule and that the Singers & Combinations round would be before the Surprise Live Artists round. No one seemed to mind the change in schedule and it was on with the show. The crowd was getting bigger by the minute, so, it only made sense to hold off the artist round until the crowd peaked. Super Fresh came with a huge fan support. Their section had T-shirts made up and they came out numbers. Many people in the venue were excited to hear Super Fresh play as they haven’t been in the forefront lately (playing out or clashing). We can clearly see they have been cutting dubs on the low and keeping them for events like this. This made their fans happy and helped them gain a few new ones. They operated like a well oiled machine ready to take on anybody and everybody.
King Turbo came hard with some unusual combinations like Shabba and Cocoa Tea, then Barrington Levy and Buju. This is the round where I expected King Turbo to soar and lead where they couldn’t be caught. We hear the calibre of tunes they play on Morning Ride and we know this is Sling Shot’s specialty. Yes, they had many exclusive dubs, but, the selections they played didn’t have as big of an impact because they chose songs that weren’t popular with the crowd. It’s almost as if they were ‘dub’ confused – with so much to choose from, I’m not sure they picked the biggest bangers in their box. Jah Cure’s “That Girl” got a big forward and woke up the crowd, but, I believe that this round should have sealed the night for King Turbo with or without an artist. This was their opportunity to pull away from the other Sounds and be seen as the front runner for the rest of the night. They played really good, but, should’ve and could’ve smashed the place. Sharpe didn’t help, his speech was basic and his tunes were heavy. With practice, Sharpe may have potential, but the jumping around would be less important if his speech would fire the shots that KING TURBO was playing to back him.
Poison Dart used this round to show Canada that they have big dubs that are legal. Taranchyla seemed very comfortable in this round and liked to start each round slow and build to a bang. I’m not sure this made a major impact with the crowd as they got a few small forwards, but nothing that really moved the crowd. Despite playing Marcia Griffiths, Luciano and even Sizzla, Poison Dart proved to be kinda boring and this was the beginning of the end for them.
Mighty Crown’s Sami T jumped into the crowd to give a ‘wine’ to the camera lady and then said he came to Canada to “Beat some Pussy!”. He backed this by playing tune after tune and hit after hit and kept the crowd well entertained as he continued to talk to the ladies and tell them what he wanted to do to them. Sami told the crowd that this was a fun ting, a showcase ting and true seh him nah clash cause he didn’t get clash money, the least Ron Nelson could do was give him a drink. Seconds later, a Heineken was brought to him and his vibes only increased from there. He had the crowd hanging on his every word just to see what he would do and say next. Mighty Crown got two big forwards for this round, Beres and then Wayne Wonder with Buju combination. This had the crowd rocking and skanking to the beat.
Round 4 – Surprise Live Artists
Super Fresh hoped to surprise the crowd with Demolition Man (a.k.a. Ras Demo) as their guest artist. They over shot their target when choosing this pick. Demolition Man has many hit songs out right now and is even flooding the airwaves of Toronto and abroad with his cleaver hooks and catchy harmonies. He thought it would be an easy feat seeing that he is familiar with Toronto and hoped to rock the crowd. Unfortunately, for Super Fresh, the crowd did not respond well to Demo and he tried to quickly recover by moving through some of his other songs with the hopes of winning back the crowd – to no avail. This resulted in the first set of small boos for the night. Lindo P came out fast and hard with two minutes left on the clock – immediately, the crowd cheered, he had the place moving to his beat and had them bawling for more. It’s too bad Super Fresh didn’t make the executive decision to pull Demolition Man off the stage sooner and invite Lindo P back on. They would have gained more points and had a greater impact during this round.
Little did we know what was to come…King Turbo dropped the riddim and everyone stood still to see if their ears were really hearing what their eyes were seeing. When Freddie McGregor – Di Captain from the Big Ship family touched the mic the whole place tear down. This was the biggest forward of the night so far. Everyone can agree King Turbo made a wise decision when choosing who to bring to represent them. Coming off of Cham last year (WHEN DUBS DID NICE) there was a lot of speculation if King Turbo would be able to outdo themselves. Clearly, they did and with flying colours. Once Freddie hit the stage one can arguably say that King Turbo was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. King Turbo set the bar high and I’m sure Super Fresh, at that moment, wished that they had invested more for another artist. Spex and Sling Shot took to the back as Freddie stole the show. From beginning to end, Freddie ‘Ever Ready’ McGregor held everyone’s attention and sang some favourites as well as a few ‘spexclusives’ which helped to propel King Turbo to the front of the race after losing the Real Steel round by default (not hitting as hard as they could have in the Singer & Combinations round). Undeniably, the highest point of the night! King Turbo left the stage grinning like the cat that ate the canary.
Poison Dart was next out the gate and sorry for them, but, Freddie McGregor is a hard act to follow – Taranchyla even agreed. Again, just like Super Fresh, Poison Dart didn’t anticipate the scope of this round. Poison Dart’s guest artist was Taranchyla (MC). He did his best to showcase some of his songs which the crowd was not familiar with at all – this was met with NO forwards and a lot of boos. Toronto has been known for its hecklers and they made their displeasure known. He took the hint and cut his set short, saying, soon Toronto would know his song too and to give new artists a chance. This was a double strike for Poison Dart.
Mighty Crown was only too happy to use the extra time left over from Poison Dart as they had two guest artists to feature. It was a real treat to all Sound men, Sound clash fans and real Reggae lovers to see Johnny Osbourne take the stage with Brigadier Jerry aka The General. They performed some real classics that excited the crowd and had the venue jumping. Sami T bigged up King Turbo and recognized them as having the best artist for the round which took nothing away from the great performance of Johnny and Jerry. Even with extra time, BG wasn’t ready to leave the stage when Tasha Rozez came for the mic. Johnny let everyone know that he hasn’t been in Canada in twenty years, but, that he’s a veteran in the Reggae Industry and helped to buss the Canadian Reggae Scene. As an elder, he has a wealth of wisdom and should be treated as a living legend.
At this point, the energy was high and everyone in the building was hyped and excited to see what would happen next. Tasha Rozez came on stage, on the mic, to smooth the transition into the Anyting-A-Anyting round. Tasha said “Like how di last round did set away, make sure unno prepared fi di next round”. It was amazing to see all the Sound men who came out to support. They could have taken a booking for the night but chose to come to WHEN DUBS DID NICE 2. Sending special shout outs and honourable mentions to Step-A-Choice, Polly Famous, DOC, Black Reaction, Vertex, Don Rankin, Dyce Locke, Desert Storm, Chris Dubbs, Biggs 4000, Capleton, Ital Roots and many others too numerous to mention who came out to witness an epic night of greatness for Reggae music.
Super Fresh knew that they had to come hard and come correct from their previous Surprise Live Artist round. At this point, the Super Fresh fans turned up the support and were very vocal in cheering and making the most noise. Super Fresh went in, (seeing that no one has heard them play in a while) it was refreshing to hear the big bad killing Sound Super Fresh in their element on a big stage. They played well and picked up a lot of forwards during this round. Milo was excellent on the mic and when he brought Louie Rankin on stage, they got a huge forward. In hindsight, Louie might have helped more in the Surprise Live Artist round. Super Fresh showed their comfort and pleased the fans with Sizzla, Bounty and even threw in some Tommy Lee (in previous clashes, the music of Tommy Lee has gotten mixed reviews from the crowd) – Super Fresh used this to their advantage and hyped up the crowd with ‘Super Fresh Crazy’, no, ‘Super Fresh Madd Insane’.
King Turbo was still riding high from their previous round. This round would not be an easy feat considering Polly Famous was in the building, making his presence known. Sharpe took this as a personal attack. Instead of staying focused on the task at hand – the showcase, Sharpe decided to address Polly directly. This was King Turbo’s second strike. By King Turbo changing their focus to Polly, they lost track of what they where there to do in the first place, which was to showcase what they have and compete against the other three Sounds on the bill. Polly’s presence alone seems to alter Sharpe’s mood and throw him off his game. King Turbo dropped a huge Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley tune, but, Sharpe’s speech did not connect to the tune as his mind was preoccupied with Polly. Polly used this slip from Sharpe and evoked the other hecklers to join him in booing Sharpe and King Turbo. Super Fresh fans joined in with Polly Famous and the boos got louder. Many people have such high expectations of King Turbo that it’s hard to please everyone. Again, another round played well, but, Turbo has now lost the lead that they gained from the Surprise Live Artist round.
Poison Dart knew that up until this point they were just juggling. Taranchyla changed direction and played ten Vybz Kartel tunes in a row, followed by Bounty and Buju. Bounty being the ‘warlord’ had the crowd moving and gave Poison Dart their most consistent forwards. Buju showed that his absence is deeply felt in the Reggae community and that he is sorely missed. After this round, it was clear that Poison Dart was at the back of the pack playing catch up.
Mighty Crown was calm, cool and collected and used this to their advantage. They paid attention to the crowd and knew exactly what to play to get the people moving. Sami T showed his true talent on the mic – telling the time keeper that he want to take her home. He told Lindo P that he needed to “give them some dubs and to stop di fuckery, chuh, bumboclaat”. Sami seems to be the one of the best in his field and on a worldwide stage, can hold his own. It didn’t matter what Mighty Crown played for the rest of the round because Sami did what Sharpe couldn’t – have the right speech to go along with the right tune – everytime. The Far East Rulaz had a strong finish in the fifth round and were ready for the Chune Fi Chune round.
WAITING FOR THE AUDIO TO LIST THE SOUND, ARTIST AND THE TUNE FOR THE ‘CHUNE FI CHUNE’ ROUND
As this was a showcase and not a clash I have mixed feelings. I think that Mighty Crown stole the night. They came hard in each and every round and they made it seem effortless. This was King Turbo’s dance to lose. They had home court advantage and arguably the deepest box in Canada. Turbo played good – infact, great overall, but, lost it with the whole ‘Polly’ thing. We all know what they are capable of, they should have won by a landslide and held everyone else way back. Super Fresh held their own throughout the night and at moments, they edged ahead of King Turbo, but, their guest artist of choice proved to be their demise. Poison Dart killed themselves when Taranchyla stepped onstage as their guest artist to represent them. Agreeably, Freddie ‘Ever Ready’ McGregor was a hard act to follow, but, even without Freddie, Taranchyla got the least response from the crowd both as an artist and when playing in each of the dubplate rounds. Sharpe is fighting an uphill battle which he seems to be losing – everybody knows that he left Desert Storm and he uses that to style himself in a dance. He tried to address this by saying “Tasha a you everybody a grudge mi fam”. Again, Sharpe’s reputation seems to be a disadvantage to King Turbo. A job well done Ron Nelson! It was a great show that delivered everything you promised. Hope you consider doing WHEN DUBS DID NICE 3 – sooner, rather than later.
Review by Shevonne aka delicate fiinechina
- See This March 25th 2013 Review
Written by Irish and Chin
It’s been a long time since a clash promoter has created an event, which bears an undeniable impact, one that even the haters have to give in to. On Saturday March 15, one of Canada’s leading clash promoters staged an event called ‘WHEN DUBS DID NICE 2’. The event featured both Canada’s King Turbo and Super Fresh, Japan’s Mighty Crown and America’s Poison Dart. It was ALL about the good old days when dubs ruled hardcore events. The show was pegged to be an all dubplate showdown and it lived up to all expectations. Each Sound went in HARD!!! Dubs flew from left to right as the patrons went crazy cheering for their favorite selections. There was even a round called ‘Real Steel’, where all Sounds had to play fifteen minutes of physical dub plates (steel discs). The highlights of the night occurred in the events three final rounds.
Sparks flew when the Sounds entered into the ‘Surprise Live Artistes’ round. This round was designed to capture the camaraderie that once existed between Sound and Artiste – a true reflection of back in the days when artistes defended their Sound on the battlefield. This round boasted non-stop forwards for Taranchyla presented by Poison Dart, Ras Demo and Lindo P presented by Super Fresh, Freddie McGregor presented by King Turbo and Johnny Osbourne and Brigadier Jerry presented by Mighty Crown. It was a thrilling moment.
Then came the ‘Anyting-A-Anyting’ round where dub plates reigned and energy immersed the crowd. At times, things came very close to becoming an all out Sound clash and the fans loved it. The last round, the ‘Chune Fi Chune’ round was epic! Each of the participating Sounds slung ten tunes a piece, combined with lots of speech and excitement. Every Sound system did well! Never-the-less, each member of the crowd will have their own opinion on the night’s best and worst performances. However, to me, everyone involved was a winner.
See This e-Blast Sent days after ‘WHEN DUBS DID NICE 2’ by Irish & Chin
New York, New York — March 2013 — Mighty Crown “The Far East Rulers” thrilled fans in Toronto, Canada recently by inviting surprise iconic Dancehall artists Brigadier Jerry and Johnny Osbourne to perform live dubplates on their sound during a hardcore Sound system exhibition. The event, geared at capturing the historical essence of ‘Sound clashing’ – called for the use of ‘real steel’ dub plates and surprise guest artists. This proved to be a landmark moment on Mighty Crown’s “Driving Force Tour” for numerous reasons, as Johnny Osbourne has not perfomed in Canada in over twenty years and has not performed with Brigadier Jerry in over a decade.
“It was a historical moment performing on Mighty Crown with the legendary Brigadier Jerry,” says Johnny Osbourne. “This performance brought me back to the good old days…Big Up to Mighty Crown for respecting Foundation artists!”
“I had a blast! The crowd gave us such an overwhelming welcome with whistles, yells and cheers…it was a sight to see,” says Brigadier Jerry enthusiatically. “It’s been a good while since Johnny Osbourne and I have worked together and he performed wonderfully. We did a combination that was even more wicked than a solo performance…this event was really, really nice and I am ready to do it again!”
These two purveyors tore the place down performing live dubplates. Can you say wicked? The moment was monumental as the two artists vyed for the crowd’s attention, delivering a flawless exchange of lyrics and vocals. Osbourne belted dubplate style versions of his hits while Brigadier Jerry leveled the crowd with his unique lyrical flow. Mighty Crown certainly moved heads with this feat, bringing the rare combination of these powerhouse acts to Toronto. Let’s just say, this epic performance sealed the deal for Mighty Crown as leaders in the Sound system arena.
One of Mighty Crown’s goals on the “Driving Force Tour” is to show fans that through all the success and ventures, music is the root…music is their DRIVING FORCE. What a great way of celebrating their ode and passion for music with the delivery of music legends Brigadier Jerry and Johnny Osbourne! Mighty Crown’s explosive Toronto performance recaptures the essence and deep connection of Sound systems and artists. Think of it as a history lesson for the new generation of Dancehall fans in attendance, as before actual dubplates these took the form of live and unique performances by artists on Sound systems.