May 2, 2009 proved to be a very busy night indeed. So many potentially good events were slated for that night. I opted for the Spragga Benz show because of the lineup and the fact that it was a really good cause compared to the excesses of Yush. To be honest it didn’t live up to the expectations of many patrons. Maybe it was the awesomeness of the lineup or the relative cheapness of the tickets or just the venue that made this stage show a miss. Life Fest was a celebration of the life of his 17-year-old son Carlton Grant Jr., who was controversially killed by police in downtown Kingston, August 2008. Also, proceeds were in aid of keeping at risk children in school especially those in 5th and 6th form. The show was hit by very important no shows, most notable that of Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and Tanya Stephens, apologies were made but I really don’t need to explain how one feels when they expect and pay for something and not get it. The venue was Backyard, 126 Constant Spring Road, St. Andrew, which is pretty in the heart of what is considered Uptown residential areas; you know the type of people who call the police and they actually turn up for things such as noise disturbances. Tickets sold for $1000JMD and for an inexhaustible lineup of stars seemed almost too good to be true. The show ended somewhere in the region of 2:30-3:00 am. A ghastly, and ungodly hour for any stage show to end, especially in Jamaica. Honestly it may have been better to have kept a good show down by Red Square instead of a half assed one at a non-threatening venue.
Who stole the show? That was between Fire Mumma Queen Ifrica and the cool cool Jah Cure who both gave somewhat memorable sets. While Sizzla Kalonji gave an average performance he didn’t go as hard as he used to and especially in a case where you don’t have any sponsors to offend (to paraphrase Spragga) it was sort of expected for him to go harder. Spragga Benz gave an impassioned performance of “Leave all Vengeance” which had me thinking, “Does this nigga know that there is a battalion of police just outside the gates especially when he sang the part about going out in some Spaghetti-Western-Dirty-Harry manner?” It wasn’t a great show, it was barely a good show, but it has potential with its heart in the right place. Now if they work out the organizational kinks and possibly a different location then maybe Life Fest will be the one of the premier shows to attend in the annual calendar of events.