Trinidad & Tobago Carnival officially begins with the Machel Monday Concert. The reigning champion annually holds this sellout concert to treat fans to a wide variety of hits. This year he celebrated three decades in the Soca industry.
Opening for Machel, Kes the Band took his overall performance up a notch over last year, and did an awesome job of electrifying the crowd. Machel began with his “Pump Yuh Flag.” Mr. Montano gave the people just what they wanted and then some as be belted out hit after hit after hit. His entourage of guest artists did their share to increase the levels of excitement.
The list included Beenie Man, Pit-bull, Denyse Plumber, Kerwin Dubois, David Rudder and Shadow to name a few. Pit-bull aka Mr. Worldwide thrilled the packed stadium crowd with his many successful hits of 2011 especially “Give Me Everything” which sent the entire crowd into a frenzy. Patrice Roberts, the lead female with HD, gave us some of her hits from years past as well as her very popular 2012 collaboration with Kerwin Dubois, “ I am Soca” which had the crowd singing along. Mr. Montano closed the show on a very high note, exciting and energizing the fans and then warming their appetites to see him later on in the week at the Soca Monarch Finals competition where he defended his Soca Monarch title.
LIME celebrated their fete at the Hyatt Regency in Port-Of-Spain. It started around 4:00 p.m. and ended at midnight. Ravi B and his band Karma were the first on stage to perform as patrons were making their entrance as well as visiting the many booths that had a wide variety of delicacies to choose from. The theme for dress was white with a touch of lime green in your ensemble and patrons came out dressed to impress. Something about women dressed in white had the men doing a double take. There was everything you can think of to eat as well as to drink as every major alcoholic brand had their respective booth, and service was complemented with a smile everywhere.
The mood picked up as Roy Cape and the Kaiso All Stars featuring Blaxx came on stage. Then Black Stalin, Baron, as well as Ronnie the Mac Macintosh, took us back down memory lane with great classic hits.
Finally around 9:15 pm Kes the Band came on stage and thrilled the crowd, his well choreographed dancers helping enhance the performance throughout the night. Ending the night was none other than the Big man in the business Mr. Neil Iwer George who excited fans further when he brought up on stage Trinidad most loved celebrity, Ian Alleyne. The night ended with rhythm section playing to the delight of patrons as they took a last drink and chipped their way out.
Overall the Lime Fete at Hyatt was one of the top five premium fetes to attend over the Carnival period. Can’t wait for next year!
Machel Montano successfully defended his International Power Soca Monarch title, and added another under his belt claiming the 2012 Groovy Soca Monarch title at Fantastic Friday. Montano made his way to the stage from inside the audience and was carried on a platform.
Unlike other contenders who jumped over several fences to reach the stage, he walked confidently and effortlessly onto the stage via a boardwalk leading from the fence to the stage. His presentation included the HD dancers, fireworks and a pyrotechnic banner reading “Pump Yuh Flag.”
Sealing the victory for Montano in the Power category was the Rocketeer taking flight at the end of Montano’s rendition of “Pump Yuh Flag.” As Montano prepared to exit the stage he placed on a helmet, and tied a bandana, bearing the national colours, declaring he was going to take soca to the moon and disappeared through a trapdoor at the far right front corner of the stage. Several seconds later there was a piercing sound and a“Rocketeer” flew from frontstage across the crowd in the VIP section, stopping shortly in General then he flew out of sight projecting out of Hasley Crawford Stadium. Most people, including myself, gasped with the sight since we had never seen anything of that magnitude before.
Carnival Monday and Tuesday, was the creme de la creme we had been waiting for. It’s a day when people do not stop partying for 48 hours – a time when they release their inhibitions. Popular Carnival band Tribe, which hosted in-demand parties, including the well attended Tribe Ignite, was disqualified from crossing the Queen’s Park Savannah stage for going off-route and later declined to parade across the designated major judging point.
Machel Montano, who is obviously in a class by himself, went on to bag the Road March victory with “Pump Yuh Flag” being played the most times on the road for the masqueraders to dance to. Faye Ann Lyons, who boycotted the Soca Monarch this year, placed second with her song “Miss Behave.”
Soca Arist Iwer George placed third with his song “No Pain.” George slammed the judges of the International Power Soca Monarch competition for allowing Machel Montano to bend the established rules to win the $2 million title.
For the second year in a row, George placed second best to Monatno under controversial circumstances in the soca competition. Within the opening line of his song “No Pain” he sings, “If yuh know they rob me last year, put yuh two hands in the air.” He stated after his defeat, “Seven years ago, the International Power Soca Monarch competition placed a ban on the use of fireworks. All the competitors know this. This year, an artiste used firework and won.” He also mentioned Montano went over the stipulated time frame allocated to each competitor.
Nevertheless, Montano is basking in joy, both he and Kes are bringing their successful, respective shows on the road to New York.