Kes puts on amazing show at Summer Jam
The first ever Bermuda Summer Jam had it all figured out: celebrated international band: check; legendary summer concert ground: check; massive crowd of rabid revellers: uh, not so much. The crowd in attendance at the massive Tiger Bay Gardens on Saturday night was a frenzied group of exuberant soca fans, but it should have been bigger.
Something like 700 bodies filed into the vast Penno’s Wharf venue for the concert, filling roughly a third of the ground. The atmosphere and excitement in the relatively modest crowd, however, was exhilarating, making this one of the best concerts a lot of folks in Bermuda have missed in quite a while.
This was an amazing show! Granted, the live portion was pretty much comprised of a single band, and the rest of the show wasn’t much more than deejays spinning records; but what a band! There were, of course, moments of delight prior to the arrival of Kes the Band as well.
I got to the ground just after 11pm to find the crowd in full party mode. They were being spurred on by local deejay hero D-Nice, and Two Fools, comedians N’Danja Bailey and Jah Simmons. The energy was already high, indicating that this group was certainly going to thoroughly enjoy this late summer gem of a show.
Mr Bailey did a funny impersonation of soca superstar Machel Montano, which was closely followed by an impromptu “wining” (dance) competition. Three random contestants were brought to the stage from the crowd to compete in the “audience choice” dance-off. All three ladies represented well, but the eventual winner, Jessica, was simply irresistible! She was a bundle of positive energy and effervescence, even cheering loudly for her rivals when it was the crowd’s turn to make noise for them; very nice.
The main attraction came to the stage at some time around 12am, and by that time the audience was more than ready to receive them. Kes was sensational from the start, delivering hit after hit after smash hit. From the sizzling band to the dazzling dancers to the charismatic lead man Kees, this international super group absolutely crushed it on Saturday night.
They opened with their massive hit “Where Yu From?”, which got the vibe soaring, and then they teased with a small chunk of the ridiculously popular ‘Wotless’. Now before this year, many Caribbean music fans from around the world would have been forgiven for never having heard of Kes the Band, but then came 2011, and the anthemic opus “Wotless”. This gargantuan hit song has become one of the defining songs of summer 2011 in the Caribbean region and beyond. This song alone should have brought 1,000 people to Penno’s Wharf!
But there was more! A lot more. This fabulous band played for roughly an hour-and-a-half, playing old favourites, new favourites, and everything in between. They offered an eclectic selection of Pan-Caribbean masterpieces, frenetic soca anthems, and even a few American club bangers!
Songs like ‘Tek a Wine’, ‘Ah Ting’, ‘Party Hard’, ‘Parlance’, and the band’s extended mix of the above-mentioned ‘Wotless’, had the crowd jumping and waving like their lives depended on it. But once the Soca hits passed by, the band broke into an outstanding reggae set, delivering hits like the Vybez Kartel stunner ‘Summertime’, the Tenor Saw classic ‘Golden Egg’ and the Sean Paul masterpiece ‘Like Glue’ with precision and class.
The crowd gorged themselves on everything this band offered; leaving sated, smiling, and ready for next year’s Bermuda Summer Jam.
The band, dancers, and lead man Kees left the stage just after 1.30am to make way for the excellent YGS sound to cap off the evening with a stirring set of, mostly reggae music. The music played until about 2.30am, and then the concert ended.
The experience was a memorable one to be sure, and if Kes lives up to its promise to be back in Bermuda next summer, I strongly advise that you do not miss them! Let’s hope the newly-realised Annual Bermuda Summer Jam enjoys an enduring run in the coming years, because this was a decidedly impressive event.