Slammin’ in the City
By Brittany Somerset, Intrepid Reporter, New York City Saturday, June 14th, New York, NY. It was a slammin’ Saturday night in the state of New York with so many parties to attend to and so little time. The 11th Annual Jamrock Reggae Festival, the Sean Bell tribute concert, and the Richie Spice concert were all in full effect well into the wee hours of Father’s Day Sunday morning.The 11th Annual Jamrock Reggae Festival, dubbed “Jammin’ In The City,” took place in monsoon-like Manhattan. The event was scheduled to start at 10pm, however it was almost washed up, due to the raging thunderstorm that racked the city. Most Caribbean folk do not like to get their hair wet; however, despite the pouring rain, the die-hard reggae massive was not to be deterred as they arrived soaking wet, but with their spirits up, ready to hear the likes of Etana the Strong One, Assassin, Ky-mani Marley, Beenieman, Mr. Vegas, and Demarco. Surprise last minute additions to the line-up included world famous, critically-acclaimed singers, Wayne Wonder, and Da’Ville, who replaced Sanchez, who unfortunately had to cancel his appearance due to a scheduling conflict.Held at the multi-tiered venue, Hammerstein Ballroom, in Midtown Manhattan, the floor seats were half empty; however, the balconies were full. Da’Ville’s performance was divine, Etana’s was effervescent, Vegas’s was vivacious, Ky-Mani’s was cool, Assassin’s was awesome, Wayne’s was wonderful, but Beenie was bored.Beenie, who almost always closes the show at festival events, due to his power to keep audiences lying in wait for him, was cradling a broken arm in a sling. Always a master of showmanship, he gave a spirited performance; however, he asked the crowd and the promoter, “Can I go home now?” after almost every song, to which the crowd enthusiastically shouted, “No!” After asking the crowd at least three times if he could go home, he addressed the promoter and stated, “You have to do this show earlier next time, I want to go home.” Within five minutes of Beenie’s completed performance, you could practically hear crickets chirping in the empty theater as everyone cleared out in record time, and tromped back into the drizzling rain. Meanwhile in the outer borough of Brooklyn, Sen I Sennon was performing at a Sean Bell tribute concert that appropriately took place in nightclub 1080 on Fulton Street. Sean Bell, the martyred poster child for police ineptness, second only Amadou Diallo, was tragically gunned down while leaving a nightclub after his bachelor party. Sen I Sennon, modeling Color Heritage clothing, performed with Jahspa and Teyazawan.After the Sean Bell tribute, the reggae music fans flocked over to Flatbush, to catch roots reggae artist Richie Spice’s 4AM performance at Caribbean City on Empire Blvd. Spice naturally sang all of his hits from his VP album, “In The Streets to Africa,” to a jam-packed audience, who boisterously sang along, word for word.While the damp, bedraggled vibe at Jammin’ in the City was more like yawning and stretching in the city, the Flatbush party popped off by comparison. It was sardines-in-a-can-crowded at the crack of dawn. Hundreds of people broke night while singing, “Na na na na na na na…”Let’s hope all those pro-active partygoers, who were up bright and early, remembered to call their Fathers and wish them happy Father’s Day.