So I went to Melting Pot this year. Before I get to the meat and potatoes (pun intended) of what went down on this night, let me give you a little idea of what Melting Pot is. Melting Pot is an event that was introduced to Antigua’s Carnival celebrations in 2014, that features artistes from different Caribbean islands, hence the name- Melting Pot. Previous artistes featured at the event include Dexta Daps, Beenie Man and whoever else min deh deh before mi nah know nor business bout (translation: whoever else was there before, I do not recall nor do I care to remember them.)
I’ve never been to Melting Pot before but this year mi decide fi fawwud tru mi hear Alkaline gah deh. While perusing one of the local papers, I saw the lineup for Melting Pot and once I saw Alkaline’s picture, grey braids and all, I said to myself- I am going to go. So like I surmise most people would do after making the decision to attend a show of this nature, I decided to contact a friend so that we could roll up to the event together and have a bomb time. My friend isn’t much of a dancehall fan but she was up for hearing Bunji Garlin and Fayon Lyons who were also apart of the performance lineup and a girls’ night was long overdue. So she contacted another friend and it was decided we’d attend the show.
Other than Alkaline, Bunji Garlin & Fayon Lyons, the usual Antiguan suspects were expected to perform- Claudette “CP” Peters, Ricardo Drue, Tian Winter and old school favourites- The Burning Flames. Kassav- a creole band, El Alfa and Romain Virgo were also scheduled to perform. Now I was actually looking forward to seeing Tian, CP and Ricardo perform because despite the fact that they’re on the lineup for damn near every show held in Antigua, I’ve never seen them perform live. And Melting Pot has come and gone and I still haven’t seen them live. Granted that I wouldn’t necessarily shell out money just to see any of those local performers perform (’cause they are ever around and you know how it is when something is common, the demand for it isn’t as high) I thought Melting Pot would have been the opportune time to see them.
Anyway, let me tell you what transpired on this Wednesday night. I was to be picked up by my friend between 8:30- 8:45 but it took me a bit longer so we left my home at about 8:50/55 and arrived at the Antigua Recreation Grounds- now called Carnival City for the season. Now the other young lady that ought to join us was in the best position to purchase the tickets as she worked in a location that would be more accessible to where tickets were being sold. So we arrive at Carnival City, and my friend is calling homegirl, like “Where you at?” It took a minute for this girl to answer her phone and when she did she said she’s just about to leave home. 😐 Now, Antigua is small but this woman lived far enough from the venue and we just heard the National Anthem being played so the show was about to start and bear in mind that I wanted to see the local artistes that were likely to go first. But it gets better not too longer after my friend gets off the phone, her phone is ringing, and it’s our ticket bearer. And she’s requesting a ride. Now my friend was pissed and started regretting not picking up the tickets from the young lady prior. But I was like ‘let’s just go and get her’ because the sooner she was with us, the sooner we could get into the show and start unwinding.
But finding where exacting my girl lived was no small feat. And the lord of the tickets was not the best at giving directions so we were once heading in the wrong direction but the lord of the tickets’ boyfriend was able to correct his woman’s messed up instructions and lead us to where his woman was. All the while, my friend was rightly getting more and more upset. Anyway, we finally reached the ticket holder and we were on our way to the event. Now we had to find a new and further place to park and by then both the ticket bearer and myself had to use the bathroom and my friend was also hungry. So we tried Burger King and a pharmacy both of which were closed by our reentry into the vicinity as it was now after 10:pm. Mind you, when we originally arrived in town it was around 9:10.
Anyway, we resolved to enter the grounds and use the bathroom there although we had concerns about its sanitation but hey, public bathrooms are all disgusting right? I decided that my situation wasn’t that serious because although the bathroom wasn’t horrible, I just preferred not to and would soldier it out. But my friend wanted something to eat. Amidst all this back and forth Tian Winter is on stage. 😦 I wait for my friend to be served her barbecue chicken and by the time she gets it, Tian is off the stage. 😦 😦 😦
Anyway, there’s a long break before another artiste comes on and we’re like what’s the hold up? Kassav then comes on and it appeared that people, especially older people were pretty excited to see them and were dancing and having a jolly old time which low key inspired me ’cause I wanna go out with my old bae and dance when I’m older as well. However, Kassav singing French Creole songs that I really did not know nor understand made it hard to fully enjoy the long ass time they were on stage. There were some songs that I’ve heard on the radio and they did sound amazing live but they were on stage for WAY TOO LONG. I’m not closed minded but I think it’s natural to want to understand the language that people are trying to reach you in. Also considering the long break before Kassav came on stage, the quicker they came off would have been the better.
After Kassav was El Alfa, I believe. And I actually didn’t even know they were apart of the lineup until the night because I really wasn’t checking for them on the flyer. Anyway, El Alfa is a Hispanic rap/hip-hop duo that is as whack as they come. They were singing in Spanish but whack is whack and I was not featuring these yutes. When they made their exit someone next to me said,” The best time ah di night ah when dem come off.” He ain’t never lied.
Next was Romain Virgo and the Unity Band. Romain was doing the most as if people came to see his behind. Yes, he did cover some familiar songs that got people loosened up after enduring Kassav and El Alfa but Romain was on too freakin’ long.
Before Romain came on and after he came on there was a mix of Jamaican music that was played to ease people into the “Caribbean tour” as the show was sponsored by LIAT. Supa Dymond, the host did a good job with the mix because I love me some dancehall so I was getting my life. Anyway, I was suspect when he mentioned that we were “touching down in Jamaica” because I thought that Bunji & Fayon would have performed before Jamaican Alkaline. Anyway, I wasn’t overly concerned because it was about after 3:a.m. when Alkaline came on. Yes, folks after 3:a.m. to blouse and skirt.
Alkaline then came on with his hype man blazing fire and singing “Formula”, one of his summer hits and hit after hit. I must say that his catalogue is up there. When he reached for a song like “Up”, I was like, ‘Hey, I forgot about that song’ but it was great that he included it. He also sang, “My Side of the Story”, “One More Time”, “Chun Chun”, “How It Feel”, “Mi nuh Like People”, “Bagga Things”, “City”, “Wait Your Turn”, “Champion Boy”, “ATM” and other songs. However, his live band was louder than him and considering that a lot of dancehall music is heavily electronically generated, seeing him perform with a band that played the songs in a different key had an underwhelming effect. I also felt like some of the songs were rushed but I must say that he transitioned from song to song quite well. Some people blamed the lack of autotune available to him or blatantly said he can’t perform but as I said, to me it just had a lot to do with the imbalance between Alkaline and his band. The band overpowered him. But he did have a pretty good set. Say what you like about Alkaline but the yute has hits.
Anyway, Alkaline finished performing after 4 and I went walked out the grounds. My friends and I had gotten separated because they wanted to stay at the back and I went to the front by myself and it paid off- I got good pics and a glow stick. 🙂 But being the only one with a bag, I held the car keys and the driver’s cellphone and it was a mess watching, waiting and hoping to see my comrades. Anyway, my friend begged someone a phone call and called her phone and we were able to reconnect.
On making our way to the car we all express our disappointment with the show and both girls were disappointed with the performance of Alkaline, the long time some performers were onstage, not seeing Bunji and the looooonng night we had.
But there’s more, the following day, we learnt that the show ended at about 7:am. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. When we left after 4, Burning Flames performed, followed by Bunji Garlin & Fayon Lyons and Ricardo Drue reportedly closed the show.
Overall, the show was as poorly planned as our night. I think that patrons should get to see everyone advertised for a show within reasonable time. And organizers should not BS people nor waste money on acts that do not add value to a show. Yes, the show is called Melting Pot, but this is not like a music festival where people only attend nights when their fave is performing. It’s a one night thing that nuff people suffered through only to not get to see Bunji Garlin because they have to work the Thursday morning (like I did) or they’re just too exhausted to champion the cause of seeing every act ’cause the show is really too long. Overall, the show gets a 2 out of 5 and the 2 stars go to getting to see Alkaline.