“Eclectic” Braves The Weather
Last Saturday’s “Eclectic” event at Susie’s Bakery in Southdale Plaza proved to be eclectic in tempo as well as lineup. Organized by Seretse Small’s Live Music Nation JA and Griot Music, the event was billed as a “party of extreme ESP- Extra Sensory Pleasure”.
To create space for the larger crowd, the carpark in front of Suzie’s was partitioned off, with a setup for the live bands to your left as you entered and a display of art from the Tivoli Resolution Project and Studio 174 on your right on the patio. It was a very good use of the space, although there did not seem to be any added dressing up of the venue- candles and lighting could have been used to dramatic effect quite easily.
ZJ Sparks was providing the entertainment as we arrived, but unfortunately technical issues seem to be plaguing the sound system, as it tripped off and on frequently. Eventually a band began playing, although there did not seem to be any announcement as to who exactly they were. Their set was unfortunately cut short by rain, which found patrons and performers alike scrambling for space under the table umbrellas and building canopies. The PA company then proceeded to pull down the entire sound and light setup, which left us wondering whether the function was going to continue or not. Considering the inclement weather the day before as well as the forecast for the day, it seemed odd that provisions were not made to cover the performance area with tents.
The rain, luckily, was short lived, and the organizers then managed to cram the entire band and sound system into a small tent where the art display had been before and the show was underway at last. Bijean Gayle performed first, and ran through a number of reggae standards, including the Maytone’s “Police And Thieves” and some Barrington Levy numbers. This did not come off as particularly eclectic, and a word to the wise might be not to cover Barrington Levy songs unless you have a voice that can match his brilliant tenor.
Next up was Sarah “Sezi” Silvera, who soldiered through her set in spite of a really terrible sounding PA system. A short set but sweet as always, she’s definitely a talent to watch as well as a YardEdge favourite.
The final and featured performers for the evening were No-Maddz, who rescued the eclec-ticity of the evening with a brilliant performance made even more difficult by the challenge of fitting the trio into the space with the full band, PA and engineer. A very talented group, they have remembered what so many others locally have forgotten- that show business involves a “show”. Their vocal interplay, humour and seamless (and very well rehearsed) transitions between songs were original, refreshing and most of all entertaining. I need to go find their album sooner rather than later…
We unfortunately did not get to hear enough of ZJ Sparks, as the weather, technical issues and timing kept her sets out of the limelight. Generators and rain provisions are essential to any outdoor event in Jamaica, and promoters also need to pay careful attention to bathroom facilities- Susie’s has one tiny little bathroom that was inaccessible during part of the evening due to an indoor performance and no portalets were provided.
In the end, we stayed until around 2:00 am, and the party survived despite the inclement weather and some planning issues, as the crowd seemed determined to stay and have a good time.
Enjoy some pictures until the next one…