Chillin at Capacity - Singy Singy and Keznamdi filled the house for Signature Nights finale
Chillin' at the Serengeti has only been open for a few weeks, but the restaurant has quickly proved itself a worthy performance space.
On Thursday's staging of 'Appleton Estate's Signature Nights', dedicated fans of Keznamdi and Tarrus Riley filled the new hot spot to capacity.
The spirits' brand closed out another run of their successful concert series with a well-attended finale. However, before the concert kicked into high gear, patrons who showed up at the advertised time were entertained by technicians and engineers running through sound checks for at least one and a half hours.
Late start not a damper
Ultimately, the gaffes didn't matter. By 9:30 p.m., host Talia Soares hit the stage to introduce Keznamdi and the Keznation Band. For his first performance in the island this year, the young singer played on his strengths, pulling out a swath of love songs like So Right, She's A Queen, and My Love For You.
Patrons were also treated to Darkness, Ital Stew, Champion, and his biggest local hit - Victory. "The culture needs this. Big up to Appleton for doing these things," Keznamdi said before closing out his opening half-hour.
Then as the band changed, hostess sashayed to centre stage announcing: "If your friend is still on their way, I'm sorry, but they can't come in!"
More familiar with the technicalities that stumped them before, the band-change took another half an hour but the audience which comprised mostly women, waited patiently for the Black Soil Band - alongside the sensational Dean Fraser who at about 10: 30 blasted through a rousing intro, Tarrus 'Singy Singy' Riley finally arrived.
Songs like Love Like Ours, Gimme Likkle One Drop, Just The Way You Are, Never Leave I, Simple Blessings, Human Nature, and Lion Paw had the audience screaming the lyrics. The women were in a trance, and there was one who stood out, dancing with her eyes closed and lost in a moment to Riley's voice.
Riley dug deep, chanting Babylon and Fly Away Home, as overjoyed fans at the front of the stage rocked and swayed, spilling rum cocktails from their token Appleton mugs. The energy in the venue increased as the reggae artiste and the legendary Dean Fraser melded their 'instruments (voice and saxophone) for a bite of Ella Mai's smash hit Boo'd Up.
Riley also performed Guess Who, the first single from his still-untitled upcoming album scheduled for release early next year.
But it was when Dean Fraser blasted the familiar opening saxophone notes of the female anthem that we were treated to the true power of Tarrus Riley. Only managing to utter the first syllable of each line of the song - the audience bellowed She's Royal word-for-word - the singer never got a chance to sing his own lyrics.
That would have been the end, but calls for an encore were answered. By request, Good Girl Gone Bad, Shaka Zulu, and Free Up were added to the set list. With energies still flowing, reggae revivalist Kabaka Pyramid joined him on stage for a quick rendition of hit song Well Done, a fine punctuation for an extended, but enjoyable show.