Watch: Local and regional cast shines at Machel Monday
Shal Marshall at Machel Monday. Photo: Curtis CHase
Local and regional artists stole the spotlight at this year’s edition of Machel Monday.
Dubbed the Soca Kingdom, the largest event on the Carnival calendar, Machel Monday showed the strength of this year’s musical offerings as many artists kept the crowd jumping and waving throughout the night, in some cases eclipsing the star of the night, Machel Montano.
Standing out among the regional acts were Grenada’s 2017 Soca Monarch winners Lil Natty and Thunder with ‘Top Striker’. The duo did a remix with Montano that landed them in the kingdom and the subjects welcomed them with rousing appreciation.
Among the locals, Shal Marshall undoubtedly topped the star-studded cast. Looking dapper in an Ecliff Elie suit, the radio host sealed his reputation as a bonafide soca artist as he rendered patrons sweaty and breathless for ‘Splinters’ his mega-hit.
Machel Monday featured a predominantly local cast, departing from the traditional use of a slew of foreign acts, mostly Jamaican. Unlike previous years, there was no dancehall segment.
French Montana and Lu City were the token international acts and while Montana got the crowd going with his hits ‘Unforgettable’ and ‘All the Way Up’, they didn’t really add anything to the night.
In between delivering his recent and past hits, Machel used the event to pass the baton, so to speak, to the young generation of artists among them Voice, Marge Blackman, Preedy, Erphaan Alves, Nailah Blackman, Turner and Abdiel, the winner of the Machel Montano Digicel Music Academy.
The older heads in soca weren’t left out either. Patrice Roberts, Nadia Batson, Destra, Denise ‘Saucy Wow’ Belfon, Olatunji, Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons and Superblue were included in the Kingdom, the latter two taking patrons back in time in a Road March segment. Machel joined the female Lyons on stage for a finale with her father for ‘Soca Kingdom’ that saw the flag crews in full force in a scene reminiscent of the big public fetes that are no more.
Bunji and Fay-Ann were dubbed surprise guest acts as they weren't advertised on the many Machel Monday posters on social media. Bunji and Machel, showing that their friendship has endured past last year, performed 'Busshead' before Bunji enjoyed the spotlight solo for his 2017 and 2018 releases 'Big Bad Soca' and "Bacchanal and Water'.
Machel’s Road March nemesis Iwer George also performed ‘Savannah’ his horse in the Road March race along with other past hits. Iwer was to be joined on stage by Sunny Bling who remade ‘Savannah’ into a song about doubles and channa but he never made it to the stage.
The 2018 Chutney Soca Monarchs Neval Chatelal and Nishard M turned the stage into a Bollywood extravaganza as they performed their winning song along with some bhajans.
The regional contingent was represented by Motto (St Lucia), Marzville (Barbados), Skinny Fabulous and Problem Child (St Vincent) and further afield, Lyrikal, the soca king of New York.
The show started late with Ravi B and Karma raising the curtain on the night’s proceedings. Just before 9.30 pm, the main part of the night opened with a dramatic presentation of Peter Minshall’s band the Eyes of God with the Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology.
With Minshalll’s sailors dominating the stage with flags painted with eyes, Machel took the stage to open the show with ‘Soca Kingdom’.
The show ran smoothly without hiccup until 2.15 am.