Anyone who has watched local performer Jumo Primo gyrate his way through a soca number would understand why he is the newly crowned groovy soca king, but the competition was largely disappointing.
Maybe it was the word ‘groovy’ that had people confused, but the inaugural Banks Groovy Soca competition on Saturday was dripping in lacklustre performances, rescued by a few high points including the “can’t take your eyes off of me” performance from Primo.
Where the groove was is what most people were thinking, as many local acts took to the stage at the National Park and simply belted out lyrics; even the back-up dancers were not enough to pull things off. Besides Primo, performers Michelle ‘Big Red’ King and Dallas Forte made the trip to the park worthwhile.
Primo, a consummate showman, outclassed the competition with his stage prowess and lyrical skills as he performed the spicy “On Meh”. It took only a few minutes to figure out what exactly Primo wanted on him as he delivered the number with pure energy; he was calling on the ladies to push up “da bumpa on meh”.
When he took to the stage things were crawling along and a few persons had already performed; he just showed up and dominated. With endless waist action, a bevy of ladies with “real bumpas” as he puts its and his voice soaring across the park, Primo worked the sparsely scattered crowd. It was difficult not to want in on the action and before long many women in the park was rivalling Primo’s onstage dancers.
“I want push it up on you Jumo,” a woman screamed. She appeared a bit inebriated and was pushing her ‘bumpa’ all over the place, even knocking a man’s cup out of his hand. When Primo left the stage it was clear that he was on his way to a win.
As customary here, the show got off to a late start sometime after 11 pm, and this was on night when light showers were threatening to put a damper on the show. The opening act from performers Aubrey Butler and Dennis Dummett came and went like it was unscripted; people didn’t seem to care that some of the acts even performed.
There was a dreadlocked guy standing right in front of the stage who proved a good guide in gauging the show. He would bounce around, his head bobbing and dreadlocks flying whenever a song moved him, sometimes he would cut through the crowd all in the feel of things. Prior to the start of the show he was all over the place gyrating and when things got underway, he barely moved.
The dreadlocked guy picked the winners as did many in the crowd audience. Primo got his approval and so did Big Red and Forte. The only other performer who seemed to connect with the crowd and him was the reigning Carib soca monarch, Orlando ‘Bonesman’ Johashen.
Big Red not only looked good, but she sounded extremely well and delivered an entertaining, “Wuck It Down On Me”. Interesting enough, the song gave people ideas and a few men and women were spotted ‘wucking down’ on each other as she performed the sexed-up soca number.
Big Red was the last person to take the stage out of 14 performers and she was looking good enough to snatch the win from Primo; but he clearly outperformed her. After her few years away from competitive singing it was good seeing Big Red match up against the others, and save for Primo the others have nothing on her right now.
If there was one person who probably should have won based solely on song delivery, it was Forte. His gospel inspired groovy soca, “Unspeakable Joy” was the best song in the line-up by a mile, and he had the best vocals of the night. Forte also had the groove going and many who initially questioned why he was “ministering ”, quickly joined in and was rooting for the guy with the gospel tune.
But Forte was up against Primo, a heavyweight who has successfully built a name here as part of the group X2 and as a member of Bryon Lee and Dragonnaries. And then there was Big Red, who stands out as one of the most versatile singers in the country.
When the judges’ scores were in and Primo was crowned king it was easy to determine that Big Red and Forte would follow; she came in second and he finished third. The top five was rounded out by Sweet Kendingo in fourth with “Hey Is whe De Party Deh” and Adrian Dutchin with “Ah Taking it”.
Of note, people were not sure what party Kendingo was talking about and many questioned how he placed in the top five. It was also unclear as to what exactly Dutchin was ‘taking’. Dutchin, a three times soca monarch, offered a lacklustre performance and it reflected in his finish.