Red Bull Music Academy Stage
Nottingham Caribbean Carnival
added: 6 Sep 2012
// gig date: 18 Aug 2012
reviewer: Vernee Sobers
It was a day where promises made were kept and the Red Bull Music Academy Stage at Nottingham Caribbean Carnival delivered.
The scent of Caribbean spices filled the air, and as the stage got underway, I was more than excited to see what musical talent Red Bull had to offer. Elementz - despite the small crowd of about 50 - tore up the stage, and the trio of Deejays delivered an extremely Caribbean-related set, with lots of reggae and dance hall music. The Red Bull MC kept the small crowd hyped with his energy and had me rocking from left to right.
When I first noticed the names Spam Chop and RubberDub, I laughed and wondered what kind of music they would deliver, but Spam Chop, who came on after Elementz, switched from Caribbean vibes to Dubstep and threw down some really catchy beats. The duo was not as entertaining as Elementz, but the shouting for ‘more smoke, more smoke!’ gave the growing crowd a hearty laugh.
RubberDub, on his lonesome, also delivered a fair set of Dubstep and some drum 'n' bass. much to the entertainment of the crowd. It was at this time that I became a tad bit bored, not being a big fan of Dubstep or Drum 'n' Bass, but despite this, the beats were quite catchy.
Next on was Trojan Records front man, Earl Gateshead and his MC Super4, who is blind. He started with some roots reggae music, giving off a relaxed and laid back vibe, he also gave a quite informative talk of the origins of reggae music. It was an extremely entertaining and mellowed set with ‘Conscious vibes’ as he called them, and coming closer to the end, Super4 performed two original songs to come out of Trojan Records - ‘Africa’ and ‘My God’. I was extremely impressed by Super4, showing that handicaps in life mean nothing when you have a love of music.
Heatwave was next up and began by giving the crowd lots of vuvuzela’s and whistles to blow. This should have been some kind of indication to me that he intended to deliver an intense, high-energy performance. He shouted ‘This is gonna be your bashment for the day!’ and he was certainly right. For those who do not know what ‘bashment’ means, it is just a Caribbean way of saying dancehall music. He was entirely interactive with the crowd and kept me jumping and screaming for the entire hour! I even went to the front of the stage to do a Trinidadian dance called ‘Palancing’ with him and others. The mixture of music ranged from dancehall to hip-hop to soca. It was absolutely one of the best performances I had seen for the day.
Before he even came on stage, many people asked me if I was there specifically to see Norman Jay, and I found out why, he was someone else who did not disappoint. Being a London native, hailing from Notting Hill and holding the honour of an MBE, this gentleman took me on a musical journey that, although starting a bit slow, kept me doing the boogie and singing at the top of my lungs. He had great crowd interaction and involvement and his fusion of bass and reggae at the end of his set had me completely enthralled. He certainly did not disappoint.
Since Lunice could not make it, Melé, a 20-year-old Liverpudlian, and upcoming producer, took the stage. He kept the crowd jumping with his mixture of Club, Hip Hop and Grime beats and at the end of every beat, he gave the crowd a shout and respond chant, which they belted out as they jammed to the ground and back up. This was just the right lead up to the headline act, Redlight, and his number 5 song in the UK charts, ‘Lost in your Love’.
With the crowd having grown to 3000 strong, everyone jumped and waved during his entire set, and his MC, Dread MC, didn’t need to try to keep them going, because Redlight did that on his own. He had excellent beat flow, flawless transitions and when I found out that he created all of the beats himself, I thought it was brilliant. His fusion of Bass, House, Dubstep and even hints of Hip Hop might have made me a new found fan of Drum 'n' Bass. It was absolutely awesome. To close the show, guest performers Shy Fx and MC Stamina brought a mixture of Drum 'n' Bass and Caribbean music for a lovely close to a 9-hour session.
Overall, the only issue I had with the Red Bull Music Academy Stage, was that when I think of a Caribbean Festival or Carnival, I think of Caribbean music, and out of the 9 performers, only 4 of them delivered that, everything else was more electronic genres, including mainstream Dubstep, Drum 'n' Bass, and House. However, the crowds response is always the proof of how successful an event is, and at the end of the day, and a good, maybe even great time was had by all.
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