Raging Fyah, Jah9, Jesse Royal, Kayla Bliss, and Sizzla Kolanji were the selected artists for the show appropriately dubbed “The Resistance”, organized by the Xterminator Productions team, which took place on December 27th 2012. The combination of these particular artists, carefully chosen, no doubt for their unique styles, would provide a balanced and excellent showcasing of roots reggae music to what would be expected a throng of supporters.
Under a perfect pale blue moon, South Beach Café was the scene of certainly one of the best-billed live music event for 2012. The venue was well under way to being filled to capacity when we arrived after 9pm. Alternative Music Limited provided musical ambiance for the growing multi-generational audience. Evident was the reach that roots music has had all along in its ability to unite all people.
The sweetly sung Sing from the “Little Lioness” Kelissa in addition to Rastafari Way by Dre Island, the voices of Cen-C Love, Kabaka Pyramid, the Jah Ova Evil Movement and Chronixx could be heard throughout the venue. Patrons mingled until almost half past 9 when Elise Kelly (Broadcaster from Irie FM) took the stage to extend welcome to patrons and give context and focus to the evening ahead. The mission was clear, resistance but to also commemorate in music, the life and works of the legendary producer, the late Phillip “Fattis” Burrell. She emphasized satisfaction with the music with a message and mission, from the second-generation reggae musicians.
Then, the already in place Raging Fyah band opened the show with Irie Vibe which got the crowd instantly rocking steady. Easily segueing into their next song Music Isn’t biased, lead Singer Kumar Bent and company left no doubt that they were leading the Resistance and would not be kept quiet; “rebel music” was going to be “starting up a riot”. Other tracks performed from their debut Judgement Day album included the “love from a distance” fan favorite, Far Away and then Running Away, Behold, title track Judgement Day, Cyaan Cool, Karma and Ganja. The Band’s performance was spiritually lifting and in closing after forty minutes of “fyah” music, one could feel the freedom in the resistance.
With a brief interlude of music from Uprising Roots and more, a word of thanks to sponsors of the event, and a band change to The Fire House Crew, accompanied by the legendary Earl “Chinna” Smith, Mama Elise brought on stage the “rootical” dub Queen Jah9. With her infectious lyrics, Janine “Jah9” Cunningham reverently and powerfully delivered Gratitude. In her charge to the audience, she stressed the need to become immune to the things not beneficial to the mission. She poignantly delivered “message music” starting with a performance of Legitimate, in which she was briefly joined by Protoje on stage. She then eased into her new single Jungle and closed with New Name.
She brought depth and strong vocals to the ears of patrons delivering a deeply rooted reminder and poetical message “connected to the source of life”. Her performance epitomized discipline and left the audience in serious contemplation of the messages delivered so deliberately accurate.
Before sight of the next artiste, Mama Elise admonished artists to show up for the mission with clean hands to allow the Creator to fully shine in the works. After extolling “Fattis” Burrell’s uncanny ability to recognize talent, Mama Elise introduced XTM Nation artist, the lovely songbird Kayla Bliss. First time performing in Jamaica, Kayla began humbly but eased confidently into Rock and Sway, Literal Love, and Tears of a Soldier. With her sweet soulfulness, she gave a fresh taste of her style to the audience. After closing her brief set, Kayla introduced the Palace “pickney” and XTM Nation stable mate himself Jesse Royal.
The Royal Jesse opened his set with Hotter the Battle setting the tone for the rest of his performance. His contagious alliterative enunciation was as pronounced on stage as on the Misheni Mixtape with songs such as Modern Day Judas, One Eye Open, Bittersweet and Talk to Me. He continued with the 2012 instant hit This Morning followed by Someday. Jesse was fluent as liquid in his performance. Transitioning between tracks flawlessly, the audience responded warmly to the one uttering royal “speakinz”. It was evident that this Son of the Most High struck the right chord with patrons who just couldn’t get enough. He completed his set with a duet with Kayla Bliss before exiting stage left.
Next was the long awaited performance of Sizzla “Dadda” Kolanji. Patrons moved closer to get their fill of Sizzla, who is arguably one of the most potent, prolific and influential proponents of Rastafari in the music business. Opening with Hosanna from the album of the same name, Kolanji set fire to the stage and audience, and the patrons responded with fingers in the air and bodies in motion to the reeling of each classical hit. From his splendored catalogue, Kolanji belted out Holding Firm and Got It Right Here to the roaring approval of fans.
Next came Guide Over Us, Praise Ye Jah, Make Dem Secure and Babylon Ah Listen. Sizzla could not hit a wrong note with any of his songs, music that has been rooted for many years in the consciousness of the people. Every line, every word bringing forth the message, resist babylon, resist the system, and embrace your Black self. The fire never missing, he moved quickly to Give dem a Ride, Why Should I and Good Ways. Like a gust of cool wind which served to fan the consistently burning fire, the emotive Ras Shiloh joined him on stage to sing Are You Satisfied, the fans by now chanting every word in unison, even joining in in his rendition of Garnett’s silk Zion in a Vision.
Sizzla returned center stage rousing his fans with Divide and Rule, Get to the Point, Give it To Dem and Be Strong. To balance the musical equation, he turned up the love dial with Woman I Need You, So Lovely and Give Me a Try. Feeling complete sweetness and filled to the brim with “perfect love and [Kolanji] security”, the cup now overflowed with Take Myself Away, Ultimate Hustler, Rise to the Occasion and Solid As a Rock. This ended the musical giant’s contribution to the Resistance. He easily took the show though well supported by the previous artists.
If you missed The Resistance, you missed drinking from the wellspring of one of the best live shows for 2012. The resounding message in the Resistance seemed to be fitting tribute to Fattis, one of the giants in Reggae Music, preserving the foundation and maintaining the integrity of the work started by legends before, putting the world on notice that the future of Xterminator (now XTM Nation) is in very good hands under Fattis’ son Kareem “Reemus” Burrell. I know, I had my fill and those who attended will agree it was a stellar event. 2013 seems a good look for the resurgence and revival of Reggae music. Stay locked to this page for more exciting events as the train to Zion stays on the move.