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Machel Montano… ON A BOAT

This past Saturday, Afropop’s intrepid reporters were on a boat. Or at least near a boat. They were definitely close enough to a boat to shout about being on a boat with the rest of the crowd. A rather large crowd in fact, one that had gathered for the purpose of celebrating a number of things: bass, strobe lights, consciousness, unconsciousness, dancing, and most importantly, the vital community shared by dancehall and soca, the hyped-up twins that dominate Caribbean music. That’s right ladies and gentleman: Afropop Worldwide was at a Machel Montano concert on the Intrepid. And rest assured- it was totally awesome.

After a brief, well-received performance by the vocal harmony group 3canal, dancehall legend Barrington Levy took the stage for a well-paced, lengthy set. Playing with a tight live band, he moved from highlight to highlight, drawing from his ample supply of hits as the crowd sang along with him. Following this was an all too brief appearance by the hyper-energetic Mr. Vegas, who bounced around the stage, rapping and singing at breakneck pace and generally serving to boost the crowd’s energy before Machel himself.

The concert was held as Machel’s 30th anniversary (although he is only 37- child stardom has its perks), and he took to the stage showing the total confidence bred by every one of those years. He working the crowd to the point of explosion again and again, displaying a relaxed energy that reflected his total control of the performance. Barreling through songs, he slowly filled the stage with increasing numbers of musicians and singers, gradually building intensity before finally ending the show in a massive blaze of back-up dancers, feathers, and hip-thrusting, flag-waving euphoria. The crowd responded in kind, happily bouncing to the bass of the sound system, their delight in response to Machel’s performance physically palpable. No one at that show could possibly doubt that Machel is true musical royalty- the overwhelming energy that he brought to the intrepid obviously demonstrates why he is the biggest thing currently going in soca.

Now, who’s ready for that Celebrate Brooklyn show?

Afropop live tweeted the event- Check out the coverage!

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