New Rules for Dancehall?
It had to be providence for so many to gather at the car park of the Jamaica’s National Stadium this past Saturday. Just a few feet from where so many of the country’s greatest achievements have taken place, one of the most anticipated dancehall stage shows in recent times dubbed, ‘New Rules’.
Sponsored by Magnum, New Rules was built around the public’s clamoring to see dancehall’s most elusive headliner, Alkaline. This artiste’s meteoric rise from a novelty that initially gained relevance by convincing the masses that he tattooed his corneas, to an act that could have stalwarts such as Tarrus Riley, I-Octane and Shaggy opening for him, in the space of just four years. I say this as acknowledgement that Alkaline has achieved quite a lot in a time when many careers have launched and ended within the Jamaican music industry. One of his crowning achievements is the development of a fervent fanbase, ‘Vendetta’, whose appropriated Guy Fawkes masks from the 2005 film ‘V for Vendetta’, is the group’s obvious symbol. As for New Rules, the announcement for the stage show came right on the heels of rumors of Alkaline’s unwillingness to perform in Jamaica, rumors which were propagated by his ‘rivals’ within the music sphere. As most of his private life and thoughts are shrouded in secrecy, many of his own fans were wondering what really to expect from the Vendetta boss on his big night. So BACKAYARD ventured out to the Magnum tonic wine sponsored New Rules event to see the type of support this type of show could garner. A real curiosity for us, as while dancehall remains the heartbeat of the nation, actual concerts/stage shows for the genre have dwindled
First on the stage was Correy Dip. He did well to hold the crowd’s attention in the early parts of show connecting with the then sparse crowd with some good punchlines.
Deizzle, showed promise as he confidently manned the stage in a quick set. Up next Frass Man Brilliant, made it his mission to get the ladies in the venue loose and dancing at the show.
Global icon Shaggy lifted the crowd to different levels of excitement. True professional performance. Mr. Orville Burrell CD proved, once again, while hype is temporary, class is permanent.
The interesting thing about every I-Octane performance has to be the stories he tells to intro his songs. I mean real creative work it brought some levity to the proceedings, which was a difference from what was to come.
Finally the man himself, Alkaline, who New Rules was centered around graced the stage. Very credible work, he showed that while his performance might have lacked a few things, there is more than enough to build upon in the future. His Vendetta fans were singing word for word from his catalogue and when he brought out Movado back to the stage to perform their hit ‘Farewell’ the crowd erupted for what seemed like the umpteenth time.
Overall it was quite a great turnout for a dancehall concert. Credit goes again to Magnum tonic wine and all sponsors for the initiative. We all who are invested in the culture hope there is more to come.
photos by Jik Reuben