The rains that usually accompany the two-day roots-reggae festival, Rebel Salute, were not enough to dampen the mood of religious Saluters, nor performers Iike I-Octane who chose to get wet with patrons at Grizzly’s Plantation Cove in St Ann.
The Mama You Alone singer had promised a non-structured, yet special performance after a one-year hiatus from the show, and did just that by abandoning the stage to climb atop the scaffolding in the VIP area.
“When mi reach tonight mi see rain a fall, but yuh haffi be diverse as a performer and entertainer,” I-Octane told BUZZ. “Mi run out on the stage and start to slide, I couldn’t stay on the stage, mi seh mi haffi be spontaneous.
If I stay on the stage and do that people nah go get that impact because dem under dem umbrella and kinda have a vibe about the weather. People like to see the artiste come out and get wet with them so them appreciate it and give me back that same energy. That is my joy to make people feel good.”
Umbrellas waved side to side as he rocked the crowd with back-to-back hits, including Lose A Friend, My Life, Badmind Dem A Pree and My Story, before introducing his 10-year-old daughter, Octavia, who performed a self-written song titled Don’t Trust, a cautionary word to her dad to watch whom he surrounds himself with. As the rain continued to pour, the deejay activated daddy mode and sent her out of the rain before continuing his set.
Night two left no room for mediocrity and saw each artiste delivering his and her best, notably Lady G, who stood out despite fighting the flu.
Tracks like Nuff Respect, Breeze Off and Legal rights were clear crowd favourites, but it was Lady G’s freestyle performance that took the cake. From denouncing paedophilia to addressing being called old and dated, the singjay showed she was still in top form.
“I can’t remember when last I performed in Jamaica and actually had no intentions to perform here anytime soon, but when I got the call I decided to come,” she told BUZZ. “It feels good seeing the love from the people tonight, it was a good welcome home and showed I was really missed.
“I have to big up Tony Rebel for continuing to put on a show that preserves Jamaican culture and supports veteran artistes too. Some of these singers I’ve never seen perform and I have been in the business for many years. It’s because of this show why I’ve seen some of these veterans perform, so we have to continue our support for Tony and what he is doing.”
Veteran singers have played a seminal role in the festival throughout its 27 years, and Errol Dunkley is one such crooner who got the crowd out of their seats, as he journeyed through his catalogue of classics, including Black Cinderella, You’re Gonna Need Me and You’ll Never Know.
Tony Tuff, Jack Radics, Benjy Myaz, Louie Culture and Hopeton James also deserve honourable mentions, as they kept patrons grooving during their sets.
Queen Ifrica was no doubt the leading lady of the night, and debuted a new song inspired by domestic murders that have been wreaking the country in recent years. Dubbed Mi Love Yuh, Ifrica offers “a soft approach” for a woman having a heart-to-heart with her man about her infidelity…in the hopes that it will lessen the likelihood of say, her being murdered in jealous rage. This is the same kind of nonchalance she used to introduce the song.
“If yuh know seh yuh inna di relationship and yuh shady, one of the days when him lef and come back, just sit him down and seh, ‘baby mi have something fi seh to you based pon weh mi see a gwaan from the other day, and mi a ask you before mi tell yuh, fi have lenience please…mi really nuh waan dead…and when mi really check di file, mi up next.”
Sharing interludes of his own before each song was I-Wayne, who still blazed the fire in the pouring rain.
Beenie Man lived up to his stage artistry, catering to just about everyone with songs for the women, rude boys, mothers and dancers.
Other performers included Richie Spice, George Nooks, Anthony B, The Meditations and Chronic Law as Akeem Campbell.
Catch more highlights from Night 2 of Rebel Salute in our gallery.