The last couple of days we have been spending with friends. Lots of places to go, lots of people to visit. Friday a friend took us to country and we went to a dance there. We were invited for a birth day party in Portmore on Saturday. Sunday we rested and did not go to Dub Club. We were just too tired. Dubclub is a JMD 1500 ride one way so it made no sense in going there when too tired. We'll see next week. In the meantime, let me tell you about last week Wednesday and Thursday.
Tonight is Dubwize and I'm looking forward to it. I remember Dubwize from our trip last year as a weekly event hosted at the Tikki Hut on Hope Road. Since then selecter Yaadcore, Dubwize's Host, has been trying out different venues, the latest being Seadeck on Barbican road. Tonight he is bringing his brand name Dubwize session to Nanook, the place I have been writing about quite a lot lately. You know I love this venue and I'm sure Yaadcore will bring out his own wall of speakers for the clear and crispy sound that's a trademark of the Dubwize brand, which now also has an offcial branch in Miami.
Nanook is close by so we decide to walk. It's at Burlington Avenue and it's a Wednesday so you know what else is going on in the same street: Weddy Weddy at Stone Love headquarters. When we passed there at 10 pm the vendors were already out to provide party goers with whatever they need. I hear a loud booming voice on the sidewalk and see DJ Burro Banton holding a vibes. I have a feeling we're not going to make it to Weddy Weddy later tonight but that's ok.
There's already quite a crowd at Nanook at 10 pm. Guest selector Ghetto Youth Sound from Slovakia is serving up the early vibes. Soon enough Yaadcore takes over with a selection of 70's and 80's roots and new roots. It is the musical selection and the easy flow of Yaadcore's MCing that characterises the Dubwize event. Tonight however he leaves most of the MCing to Ras-I.
Benji's veggie patties and Veggie Meals on Wheels are serving wholesome vegetarian food. Yaadcore did indeed bring his own speakers and they are booming in the smalll yard. We head for the deck bar more than once to give our ears some rest and to reason with friends. At around midnight it's time for live performances. I know Xana Romeo, Max Romeo's daughter, from her song Righteous Path, often played at Dub sessions. Xana's voice blends in perfectly with the Dub riddims and she puts in a great performance.
Next up is Samory-I, an artist I was not familiar with but who turned out to be the surprise of the evening. Samory-I is a great singer with a very characteristic and soulfull voice. Check his tune Take Me.
The vibes at Dubwize are great. Yaadcore manages to draw an early crowd, a mix of foreigners and locals. The music itself, booming from Yaadcore superb sound system, takes the leading role here. The last tune is dropped at 2 pm and we call it a night.
'Vinyl Thursday isn't just about party a keep, it's about hosting people', Exile Di Brave tells me when I greet him on our second outing to Vinyl Thursdays at the Veggie Meals on Wheels venue on Regal Plaza. And he's right. For the entire evening the DJ booth is teeming with action and energy. Host Harar Sound play a solid stictly vinyl selection. Some of the records are pretty scratchie. When Burning Spear's Foggy Road is spinning I imagine hearing the rain falling on the Spear's roads but its actually the sratching of the record. It's all part of the experience, I'm not complaining. The music is booming, volume turned up.
King Harar's set is followed by a live session of Manu Digital, armed with some of the iconic drum machines and keyboards on which the 90's digital riddims are made. Manu Digital recreates and expands these riddims live on stage in an explosive session.
A slew of artists pass through and ride the riddims. I forgot to jolt down their names because I was too busy enjoying their performances.
As midnight approaches the venue is packed to capacity when a busload of about 20 more tourists is dropped off. They are obviously ready to party, it is still early after all. At exactly 5 minutes before midnight however, when Danny Pepperseed just started spinning some tunes, the police arrive in full force to lock off the party. An unfortunate end of the evening but so it go.
From an outside perspective, I can only argue for the social, cultural and economic value of weekly events such as Vinyl Thursdays. Reggae fans world wide dream of going to these events and lots of them do. If Kingston received UNESCO's Creative City status it is exactly because of these events. And if we would have to use a moral perspective on the issue, it is clear that these rootical events do not promote any kind of negativity, badmanerism or gun culture. The powers that be should endorse this. But then again, I'm not a fan of the moral stance because I love dancehall same way.