The inaugural ‘I am Soca’ Concert (Caribbean Event Review)
By Marissa Williams
The ‘I am Soca’ concert featuring Kerwin Du Bois, Benjai and Lyrikal was the kick-off to one of the best Atlanta Carnivals that the city has seen for a while. The event was held on Friday May 25th at the Museum Bar in downtown Atlanta.
The location was convenient, there was ample parking and there was no problem getting through the doors. Now, all avid Carnival fans know that the Friday before the parade is packed with activities and parties, and this year was no different. In fact, weeks leading up to the event, the question on most people’s minds was ‘Should I go to the ‘I am Soca’ concert or the Machel Montano concert?’ I was no different, loyalties were divided and eventually I made the decision to go to both, but as the Fete Gods would have it, that did not happen-the vibes at the ‘I am Soca’ concert held me captive.
From the moment I stepped into the Museum Bar to the strains of oldies soca, I knew I was in for a memorable night. As the crowd started trickling in the vibes and atmosphere just kept getting better and better. Drinks were flowing, people were dancing and the air was tense with anticipation. DJ Stephen, DJ Majestic and Big Kat Sounds started things off right, keeping everyone engaged with musical classics both old and new. I almost forgot that artistes were supposed to be performing that night because the music was that good.
Then, just as I started getting deep into my soca groove, something caught my attention. DJ King Apache seemed to be bringing a steel-pan onto the stage…that was different. I started to wonder about the tricks the promoters were up to when I heard DJ Stephen challenge DJ King Apache to ‘run a tune’ on the steel-pan. No-one on the crowd could anticipate what happened next. The music from the soca hit ‘Action’ by Super Jigga TC filled the room and everyone went wild. The bar was set. Then, DJ Stephen issued another challenge for another tune..and that’s when we heard it…the opening bar from Kerwin Du Bois’ hit tune ‘I am Soca.’ The noise levels from the crowd went up quite a few decibels, but not as much as when the man himself, Kerwin Du Bois, came on stage and started to sing along to the strains of the sweet steel-pan music. The concert had begun.
Kerwin launched into some of his classics like ‘Gyal Farm’, ‘Pavement’ and ‘Ah Ting’ to name a few. By this point, the audience was high on the soca drug and eager to welcome Lyrikal on stage. He did not disappoint, singing hit tunes like ‘Ramajay,’ ‘Serious Wines’ and ‘All Over De Gyal’. There was even some audience participation with a mini ‘wining’ competition with DJ One Drop Sounds in the background bringing tune after tune. The atmosphere was electric and it almost seemed like sparks started to fly when Benjai came on stage singing hits like ‘Trini’ and ‘Wine To the Side.’ I sat there wondering, ‘Can this show get any better?’ It did. Kerwin and Benjai began to tag team the audience with their greatest hits and the euphoria levels in the crowd increased tenfold. Kerwin sang ’Bachannalist’, Benjai sang ‘Over and Over’, Kerwin sang ‘Baddist’, Benjai sang ‘Peoples Champion’ and so the night progressed leaving us in the crowd wet with sweat and high on music. I did not want it to end.
The Poundaz Entertainment Group raised the bar for Atlanta carnival events and the music from Kerwin Du Bois, Benjai and Lyrikal has been on repeat on my iPod ever since. It was definitely a night to remember and one of the most memorable concerts I have been to for a while. ###