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Etienne to the rescue

...fun time in de Village
Published: 
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Jus’ Friends mas band leader Annmarie Placide, front, right, and friends enjoy Pan, Brass and Soca: Jam Down. PICTURES MALIKA ROUFF

As a big, well-organised lime, Hadco Phase II Groove’s Pan, Brass and Soca: Jam Down all-inclusive last Saturday can be categorised as a huge success for a worthy cause – the establishment of a youth arm for the band.

The food was good, the bar was manned by helpful, competent servers, venue support was superb and 2018 National Panorama champion Angostura Newtown Playboys Steel Symphony welcoming patrons at the entrance was a nice touch. Hadco really rolled out the red carpet.

But, as a musical event, however, the multiple Panorama champ and its distinguished collaborators did not quite deliver the goods.

Save for some redemptive moments from Etienne Charles and Friends and the ace trumpeter’s cameo during a 3Canal set, this was mostly drab, uninspiring fare; occasioned in part by some appalling sound engineering that did Len “Boogsie” Sharpe and Phase II no good when they came onstage to shut things down.

By that time, the shuttle service was already taking some people back to their cars parked at two remote venues as a trickle emerged through the exit gates.

It might be that Etienne and his accomplished band, together with Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter Angela Hunte and vocalists Roger George, Lima Calbio and Keith “Designer” Prescott, were guilty of overthinking the eclectic tastes of a polite, knowledgeable and mature crowd.

For sure, on the latter point, smartphones remained largely pocketed – save for a few stage shots and selfies – and so did the many hands that did not reach, on command, for the air. It was that kind of crowd, after all.

Remarkable, seeing that Leston Paul, composer/arranger/producer of some of this country’s greatest party songs of all time was onstage – albeit in his typically low-profile style.

In the end, it was Etienne who seemed to catch the drift of the crowd best and whether unrehearsed or not, his scintillating re-appearance onstage for 3Canal came as a breath of fresh air. Even the most prolific and popular have their off nights.

A grand time was indeed had by all, barring those whose appetites demanded more from the stage and less from the scattered, well-stocked tents around the Woodbrook panyard.

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