Despite being the home of Reggae, Kingston has had at best, a sporadic live reggae music scene for the past several years. However, there is a growing number of spots which provide space for young talent to test their mettle and as a result is allowing live Reggae music to once again claim prominence in Kingston.
The weekly live concert Plug n Play at the Jonkunnu Lounge at the Wyndham hotel is one of those. The event’s recent offering highlighted that a range of interesting talent on the rise. The night’s interesting display of talent included Ja Blunt, who seemed quite impressed to have finally touched and “uptown stage” and therefore declared that the next step was Sumfest. The distance will be quite a jump, but Ja Blunt certainly has the braggadocio to attempt the leap, especially as the majority of his entertaining set surrounded the power, strength and length of his manhood.
Ja Blunt’s performance rose to a truly entertaining level when during his performance of ‘My Girl Me No Have It’ he was joined on stage by Mystery Jade, one of this year’s contestants in the the Magnum Kings and Queens of the Dancehall. As Ja Blunt outlined in his prelude to the song, ‘My Girl Me No Have It’ is dedicated to those women who do not realize that his limited funds must support both them and his music career, including paying for his studio fees. As the crowd responded to his witty lyricism, Mystery Jade stepped up to the stage and began an counteraction. The audience ate up the lighthearted clash as the two traded barbs.
RPM (Revolutionizing People’s Minds Through Music), all still bearing signs of mother’s milk in their youthfulness also provided and interesting set. Their performance delivered kudos to the popular music course at the Edna Manley College where they are students. The began their set with two original pieces, the upbeat ‘See it Ova Deh’ and the soulful ballad ‘Life is Like Music’. On the second piece several members of the band highlighted that they were talented musicians and vocalists as well. For the final pieces the band was joined by DeFranco, owner of scream-inducing vocals with which he admirably performed ‘I’ll Give You’ and ‘Change’ despite technical difficulties.
Another noteworthy performance of the night came from Ra Deal, backed by the band Kasha Macca. Ra Deal provided a solid performance with a set dedicated to the reggae triumvirate of weed, revolution and women. The performance was entertaining, and the songs musically and lyrically sound, yet, with the exception of when they tapped into classic Reggae Rhythms such as Taxi, the melodies were not generally distinctive.
The performance began with an a capella rendition of ‘4 am’ which allowed Ra Deal to display the strength of his gravelly vocals. Declaring himself the “marijuana defender”, Ra Deal delivered three songs on the topic ‘Ten Pounds’, ‘Stink Up’ and ‘Herbalist’. For a more romantic turn, during which most of his attentions was concentrated on a young woman in the front row he delivered ‘Physical’ and ‘Congo Love’.
Plug n Play is certainly a worthy addition to Kingston’s entertainment scene. The stage provides a good avenue for up and coming acts to work on their craft while, like Ja Blunt, they dream of making it to the big stage.