By Marc Parc
Reggae Sumfest's annual Dancehall Night lived up to expectations following an energetic number of sets from some of Dancehall music's biggest stars at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in Montego Bay.
Up-and-comers such as Khago, who was greeted with fireworks upon his entrance as well as Zamunda & Chan Dizzy all gave energetic performances. Meanwhile, Dancehall mainstays such as Assassin, Konshens & Elephant Man, who donned a "Captain America" inspired outfit during his set, gave fans lots to cheer about. The "Energy God's" performance lived up to his nickname as he climbed on the side of the stage to gain a better view of the patrons while performing.
Former Vybz Kartel protégé & Portmore Empire member, JahVinci proved his worth as a rising solo act; starting his set by performing his popular single, "In My Life," then delivering classic songs such as "Guide Me," "Mama Love," "Baby Girl I'm Alone" & "Watch Yuh Frenz."
Female artistes also made their presences felt at the event with strong outings such as Ikaya, Ce'Cile & Tifa, who emerged from a gift-wrapped box to start her performance before being joined by Fambo to perform their hit collaboration, "Swaggin." Spice also wowed onlookers with her performance; sporting a large blue wig while performing songs such as "Nuh Fight Over Man," "Question Mi" & was joined by American R&B singer, Mya to perform their soon to be released single.
However, the most talked about performance from the night was that of Dancehall-Reggae superstar, I-Octane who dazzled the audience with a plethora of his hit songs including "My Life," "Mama You Alone," & "Nuh Ramp Wid Wi." The performance fired up so many of his fans that they literally torched parts of the Catherine Hall grounds. Beenie Man's performance also lived up to the hype, performing his classic, "Girls Dem Suga" with the aforementioned Mya who also showed off her wining skills. Just as memorable a moment was when Beenie brought on recent internet sensation, Clifton "Cliff-Twang" Brown who together reminded Sumfest fans that "Nobody Canna Cross It."
Internationally acclaimed Dancehall singjay, Mavado took the stage shortly after 5am; giving a strong performance with favorites like "Hope & Pray," "So Special" & "I'm On The Rock." Dancehall Night was then closed off by the self-proclaimed Dancehall Hero, Vybz Kartel who, despite performing without a band; delivered a good set with current hits like "Summer Time," & "British Love" before bringing out fellow Empire member, Popcaan to perform "Hot Grabba" & also Gaza Slim to perform "One Man" & "Moving On."
Overall, it was arguably one of the best Dancehall shows in the 19 year existence of the event & only raises expectations for Sumfest's 20th staging. Reggae Sumfest 2011 concluded on Saturday with American rap superstar, Nicki Minaj headlining the lineup card.