It’s always great to see all the new performers come in with a different vibe and perspective of what Soca means to them. At the Party Monarch Preliminaries on Friday, June 29 at Spinners in Union there were the familiar faces but the new ones were certainly welcomed into the Soca arena!
In usual fashion people started trickling into the venue hours after the slated start time, which wasn’t such a bad thing since the show didn’t start on time in the first place. Nevertheless, Kakal, representing NG Soca Stage was the first performer for the night and his “Marcocotte” received a lukewarm response. Next up was “Clear De Way” by Juliana from Ambassadors and with the undeniably pumping beat; it was definitely one of those songs with the potential to grow on you! Brownsman from De Revue came on with “Madness on the Road” and one couldn’t help but notice the line repetition trend that has become commonplace with Soca music—at least where St Lucia is concerned. Brownsman’s track certainly is one of those songs that you find yourself unexpectedly dancing to once you listen for awhile, and as the ‘highly enthusiastic’ man next to me pointed out that night, “With the right amount of alcohol any song sounds good!”
Sedale was next with another one of those “Tear it Apart” songs but the new artiste has quite a commanding stage presence and an addictive Soca personality that just makes you want to hear more from him in the hopes of discovering his full potential that is sure to be seen in time.
Unfortunately for Sedale and a lot of the other artistes on the night, they would have to face a tough audience that seemed more interested in observing and taking in all the new Soca tracks than jumping and waving. At one point Sedale asked one of the liveliest crews in the place to run from one end to the other and was completely ignored. He recovered easily though and maintained a good performance throughout.
T-Girl from South Tent performed “Water Pressure” with the catchy “Splash” hook. Her performance was complete with a signature dance move that was entertaining to say the least. Hers was reminiscent of Q-Pid’s “Water” and definitely has a carnival vibe. The new performer had her dance going and her hype-man at the ready much to the delight of the audience. T-Girl had quite a good crowd response with calls for an “encore” by some supporters.
Friday saw the return of Former Soca Monarch Alpha with his carnival offering, “D Wetter, D Better”, and his was definitely one of those tunes to look forward to hearing along the carnival route. J Budz
had the most supporters by far and his “More Mad” performance was exciting to watch. From the moment the voluptuous Soca Princess came onstage it seemed some of the men in the audience were mesmerized by her appearance and they their utmost to touch her while she performed “Fit.” One ‘lucky’ man made his way onstage and was rewarded with a chance to dance with the full figured performer that sent him toppling over backward!
Next up was Ambi, and supporters made their way front stage, sat in the grass and chanted as he came on, holding their hands as if in prayer. “Dem eating mac and cheese while we eating plantain”, Ambi sang, and his was a tune about “Chanting” away any evil that comes your way.
The artiste from Take Over Tent climbed onto the highest speaker during his performance and for a moment had everyone at the edge of their seats. Thankfully his antics didn’t have a disastrous outcome!
Skinny was next with “Sickness Take Over”, a well received performance. Mongstar came onstage looking a bit out of it to perform his track, “Ah Been Waiting”, then came RK Sonny with “Soca Sick”. Superman HD is one of those performers who has made a name for themselves in the Soca arena and his performance of “Born to Mash Up” had all the ingredients for a smashing carnival tune.
Many remember Exodus as the “Bi Gas” man but this time around his vibe was different with a rendition of “Round Di Islands.” Soca Syco promised the place was about to ‘tun up” and indeed it did.
He performed “Gallop”, the song everyone was waiting for and his was an energetic performance that resulted in a great crowd response—overall the best crowd response of the night!
Number one in round two was Mubarak from Spectrum who started saying the key to a man’s heart was a woman. His performance of “Bump on It” was complete with a hype female dancer and led the way to Jan Jah Rade, who sounded a bit like Ricky-T, down to the “boom” phrase with his track “Dem Cyah Stop We”. Shepp Dawg’s performance was met with slight technical difficulty leading the artiste into a short freestyle that went something like this: “Band cyah get it right and dem get me upset!” The band took a moment but finally got it together and Shepp delivered “Party All De Way”.
Teddyson John was next with “Gone Clear”, then came Sir Lancealot with “Do Anyting” [that you want], a track that had supporters going crazy.
“Lemme see who fit for vaval,” the artiste urged. “I wanna see how you’ll be on the highway!” His “mad in de vaval” hook was definitely memorable.
Damaze was up next and his was quite a comical performance. The song “Carnival Time” was complete with lines like, “push back we pushing back,” and the artiste along with his ‘hype man’ wasted no time showing the audience exactly how their dance was done. “We Ready” was an energetic performance from NG Soca Stage’s Mysterio who
came onto the scene about a year and a half ago. When it was her, turn QPid definitely had enough hype to command the audience and there was an unmistakable ‘Soca fury’ in her stage presence that let everyone know she was back and as she said on the night, “I coming mad again!”
“A woman in St Lucia could never take my place,” the artiste said in between lyrics proving this year she was “coming out in a rage”. D’Sean livened things up even further with his track “Born Brave.” Orion’s natural stage chemistry shone through with his “Pretty Gyal Whine”. “Anywhere de pretty girl pass, I whining on she!”
In the words of the MC, it was the return of the one and only Ilah Man with “Party Mash Up” and he came on with a surprise for everyone—he’d cut off his signature long locks! His appearance still wasn’t typically clean cut, so it wasn’t a complete shock and he was still recognizable with his new, wild, lock freestyle. An Ilah Man performance would not be complete with his signature “reaching for the sky” move!
Sergie’s “Ah Drunk” was well executed but at one point the artiste jumped offstage and spectators truly thought she’d fallen! Thankfully she started dancing with the ‘bacchanal’ crew front stage. At the end of her brief party session she had to be helped back onstage by the show’s party people!
Top Cat whined down the stage with his track “You Have Blight”. He was one of those artistes who not only had sound lyrics, but dance moves as well! G.I. Fox was up next with “Mad Man Jam” and at that point someone in the crowd commented, “Everybody mad or what?”
Crocodile performed “Bad, Bad Head”, then Yardie closed off the show with “Clock-A lot”.
Finalists for Power Soca include Soca Syco, Orion, Ambi, Alpha, Superman HD, Q-Pid, J-Budz, Ilah Man, Sir Lancealot, Teddyson John, Sergie, Yardie, Sedale and D’Sean!