Rain or shine, it’s Soca Forever
If bodies weren’t drenched from dancing at Soca Forever on Hope Road in Kingston on Saturday, they certainly were from the intermittent rain. But even that couldn’t dampen the vibe of soca babies who turned it up a notch, from throwing water on each other to climbing atop speaker boxes and dancing the night away.
The spirit of attendees was tested once more when the sound went at 1 a.m., resulting in an eight-minute lull of emcee Marlon Musique delivering playful banter, the front section choiring soca tunes, and others sitting on the grass while the technical issues were sorted. The sound would go again almost 30 minutes later.
“I think that anything that can happen, will happen, which is something the team and I live by,” event organiser Abraham Neita-Robertson told The Gleaner. “We have a very qualified team here and they solved the issue as quickly as possible.”
As for the rain, “We’re not scared of the rain for a fete. We like to think of ourselves as a traditional fete so if the rain comes, it’s just blessings.”
Prior to the unexpected elements, DJ Smoke catered to crews from all over, including the high-energy FeteJa posse whose ombre-loc’d lead men (Wes and Shavon) riled up patrons at the front of the stage. The pre-sold-only event also facilitated comfortable segmentation of patrons, who engendered their own ‘famalay’ as DJ Smoke tested their knowledge of 2022 soca, dropping tunes like Patrice Roberts’ Mind My Business and Machel Montano’s Happy Papi. He then switched gear, taking it back to soca classics like Rupee’s Jump, Square One’s Togetherness, and Destra’s It’s Carnival.
Matt Camps kept the vibe\going and flags waving with soca favourites, including Bunji Garlin’s Differentology, Kes the Band’s Wotless, Blaxx’s Hulk and DJ Private Ryan and Viking Ding Dong’s Boatride Anthem, which had flames bursting into the sky and feters rocking from side to side. As is the tradition, with the drop of Mr Killa’s Run Wid It, women were hoisted atop shoulders, almost rivalling the towering stilt dancers who joined in on the fun. Camps also added some Afrobeats to the mix with Pheelz’s Finesse, of course warranting the drop of Ding Dong’s Happiness, which welcomed the unfathomable: stilt dancers doing the ‘stir fry’. Dancehall noticeably excited the crowd, who fired ‘blanks’ at the drop of 1Biggs Don’s Boy Haffi freestyle-turned-song.
King Taj also brought some dancehall to the mix, reeling out tracks like the ‘Ice Cream ’ rhythm, RDX’s Kotch, and Masicka’s Image. With Lila Ike in attendance, he also dropped Where I’m Coming From, which the crowd didn’t seem to mind. Jamaican music aside, King Taj got down to business, getting screams from the ladies at the drop of Destra’s Lucy, and also taking patrons to ‘soca university’ with songs like Destra’s Fly, Shurwayne Winchester’s Dead or Alive, and Machael Montano’s Advantage.
It was left to Bloodline Franco to reignite the vibe following the sound issues, which he did with selections like Shal Marshall’s Splinters, Fay-Ann Lyon’s Raze, Bunji Garlin’s Carnival Tabanca, Machael Montano’s Bottle of Rum, and Ricardo Drue’s Professional. He, too, played his fair share of dancehall.
Patron Zoey told The Gleaner, “Soca Forever started out lovely up until the point where I started hearing a lot more dancehall than soca. That’s not why I came here… Outside of that, solid 8/10 experience. Would recommend.”
Charlo opined, “It was phenomenal; everything flowed and was great. The vibe was real nice throughout.”
Steffan-Chad added, “Despite the sprinkles of showers, it was an amazing event. They kept to the genre but still managed to please all of the patrons. Everything flowed smoothy, so definitely happy with my experience.”
Neita-Robertson’s team also kept abreast of the live feedback on social media and said his team will take most into consideration ahead of their next staging in December.