Soca Universe was definitely one for the books. Yet again, Trinidadian soca star Machel Montano returned to Barbados and kept patrons entertained with his high energy and endless hits.
Backed by The Monk Band, ‘Mr Fete’ graced the Bellevue Plantation at 2:59 a.m. on Thursday, opening with his 2019 Trinidad Carnival Road March winner, Famalay. There was an instant roar amongst the crowd when Machel and his dancers ran on stage and performed a dynamic dance routine. The audience was electrified, they had been waiting for nearly five hours for The Monk to appear.
He performed past hits such as Bend Over, Waiting On The Stage, Like A Boss, EPIC, Happiest Man Alive (H.M.A), Vibes Can’t Done, Bottle of Rum, Soca Kingdom and turned up the party a notch with 2019 singles such as Toco Loco, Dr Mashup and the carnival megahit of the year, Famalay which features Bunji Garlin and Skinny Fabulous.
During his performance, Machel took the opportunity to address the “elephant in the room”, the fact that his “famalay” , referencing Bunji and Skinny were performing at another show going on at the same time. Noting that the family had been split, Machel stated: “it can’t happen again!”
During his hour and thirty-minute set, Machel also brought on stage local sweet soca artiste, Hollabak who he has previously worked with.
Hollabak sang his most popular tunes, Sweet Like Ohh, Too Sweet and also brought out Barbadian chart-topper Shontelle to sing their single Shy Girl.
When Machel spoke of his recently released music video of The Road, that was the giveaway that Grammy-winner recording artiste, Ashanti will be hitting the stage.
At 4:05 a.m. a beautiful firework display sparked over the Bellevue Plantation, as dressed in a stunning golden ensemble with a cape, Ashanti walked on singing The Road. Her energy and excited transferred to the audience; some who were star-struck, others recorded her entire performance and some patrons continued to sing the song at the top of their lungs. During her set, he ladies in the audience sang singles Foolish, Mesmerized, Always On Time and Happy word-for-word. Her performance was only 15 minutes but it was memorable. It changed the pace of the show as everyone was bobbing and groovy to every track. Machel returned to the stage to give a lively presentation of Soca Kingdom and closing the show at 4:26 a.m. with Famalay.
The show also featured performances by Trinidadian artiste Nessa Preppy who sang her 2019 hit Issa Snack as well as GBM Nutron who had the crowd jamming with Practice and Scene and Swappi who celebrated his return to Barbados after seven years, with an animated performance of Party Start and Bubble On A DJ.
The local acts for the night included Joaquin who brought Vincentian Problem Child on stage during his performance of Right, Right Now, Bashment Soca Monarchs King Bubba and SK, Marvay, Peter Ram, Edwin Yearwood, Lil Rick, Shanta Prince, TC, Sanctuary, Biggie Irie, and Lead Pipe and Saddis. (KK)