Crown changes hands at Soca Vs Reggae showpiece
That hot, young thing that caught your eye? She’s soca. Reggae, on the other hand, is like your first love: you never forget her.
Thousands headed to Snorkel Park this weekend where reggae was named the unequivocal king of music at the Soca Versus Reggae: Battle of the Sexes, Cup Match After Party.
Party goers raised their lighters high and moved to the riddims of ‘Mr Dutty Wine’ Tony Matterhorn, Stone Love Movement and Mr Vegas until the wee hours of the morning. Wining queen Denise ‘Saucy’ Belfon, a legend on the Trinidad Carnival scene, Patrice Roberts and powerhouse Soca DJ Giselle ‘D Wassi One’, put on a spectacular fight in hopes that soca might once again win the battle.
And although crowd applause seemed to favour the talented divas for at least a few rounds of the fete, reggae fans weren’t prepared to back down this year.
This writer arrived to the party shortly after 10pm, just in time to hear DJ Giselle ease into her first soca set with old school calypso tunes like Hot, hot, hot and Swinging Engine. Dancers in red sequinned jackets and black hot shorts got the party started with their high energy moves, while flags, glow sticks and towels waved in the air.
Not ready to be upstaged, Stone Love appeared with an apparent mission: to take people on a walk down memory lane and remind them why they fell in love with reggae.
Playing Sizzla hits like Rise to the Occasion and Dry Cry and Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, which had the crowd belting out, ‘every little thing, is gonna be all right’ — a line from the iconic chorus — it’s safe to say ‘mission accomplished’.
For a moment it seemed that reggae might already be in the lead, however DJ Giselle amped up the energy in Round Two with current hits by the likes of soca heavyweight Machel Montano, as people jumped, waved and wined.
In Round Three Denise Saucy Belfonte quickly showed the crowd the wining moves that made her famous in the Caribbean.
After bringing a young man up on stage, she got him to lie down so she could show off some of her dancing tricks.
“You ready for me?” she asked, before showing him her ‘Saucy’ routine.
Calling Tina Turner her “alter ego”, the singer belted out a spot on rendition of Private Dancer; passed on tips for how to please a man and even danced on competitor Tony Matterhorn, who was next to the stage.
To the contrary, Tony Matterhorn proved he was no stranger to the Bermuda stage with his memorable set, which secured reggae’s spot as the front-runner.
He explained he was a frequent visitor since 1999, when the late Choy Aming brought him here to perform at Clayhouse Inn.
One of the definite highlights of the night came when he played his world renowned Dutty Wine and got a girl from the crowd to show off her moves.
Patrice Roberts kept the energy high with hits like Palance, Differentology and Destra’s It’s Carnival, while Mr Vegas proved he wouldn’t be outdone by getting everyone to sing along I’m Blessed and other tunes.
By the end of Round Five it was time to find out which team would be taking home this year’s Soca Vs Reggae title.
Organisers asked the audience to declare their favourite of the night — with reggae winning hands-down, by shouts and applause.
And the judges agreed — reggae took back the crown after four years of soca reign.
Soca Vs Reggae attracted a pretty diverse crowd and proved to have a little something for everyone. VIP ticket holders were privy to free drinks, food and definitely the best views in the house, while general patrons were entertained by fire dancers for a portion of the evening.
The event has gained a following for being the perfect way to finish off the Cup Match festivities — and this year’s show didn’t disappoint.
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