Full House at Skyline Levels for Live From Kingston 2018
Upon its return, Live From Kingston took over Jacks Hill. Billed with an all-female collection of reggae's up-and-coming acts, the sold-out concert choked the neighbourhood with traffic. Many had to make the journey back down the hill having not heard a single note from the women. Those lucky enough to have secured their pre-sold tickets were sardined in Gabre Selassie's backyard venue.
But that was no problem. They were content in the hustle and bustle - eager to see Yanah, Naomi Cowan, Sevana, Lila Ike and Koffee perform.
"We were able to do this on a weekend when man like Popcaan have Unruly Fest. At first, I wasn't too sure about dah clash deh - but trust me, I'm extremely proud of me, my fellow musicians! It's just a really great crowd to be in right now," Lila Ike told The Gleaner.
On her way to the venue, the youngest on the bill, Koffee, was caught in traffic. "People ah turn back because dem neva have dem pre-sold tickets! Me neva know seh ah suh much people really support the female dem weh ah come forward inna di industry. The wholea we are very young. Me hear people ah sing people song - it's a great energy," said Koffee.
"I cannot speak to another time in history where this has happened. We're setting a trend without even realising it. As I'm saying it, I'm thinking about it. I think it's bigger than we can comprehend at this time. We have no idea where this will end up," Sevana said.
Women In Concert
Twenty-two-years-old singer Yanah opened the stage. New on the scene, her set still includes some covers. Naomi Cowan kept the spirit of the season and the night's female-powered theme. Before her hit Paradise Plum, and introducing her new soca-inflected song Climbing, she did her mom's original - Santa Don't You Ever Come to the Ghetto.
Sevana, who was gracing the Live From Kingston stage for the third time, recalled that it was one of the very first platforms she had the opportunity to perform on. At the time, she only had two covers on Soundcloud - but Protoje was intrigued after hearing them just 30 seconds. Songs from her debut EP, Love The Way, Rawle, and Carry You, made up her set. Other singles, Justice and Sometime Love, were included, but it was the closing number - her debut single Bit Too Shy - that had the fans belting out all the lyrics.
Lila Ike took to the stage in a new look. She sported a striped pants suit and deviated from the signature afro, to a blow-out. The style maven was a real 'showman', taking off her blazer before singing the sultry Second Chance. Known for her freestyling, the effervescent performer used that skill to introduce her bandmates.
"What's beautiful about it is that we all have a different vibe. You come to a show like this, and know you ah guh enjoy Naomi's set, Sev's likkle soulful, R&B vibe. You ah guh like my rootsy, rugged ting - and lyrics ah guh buss yuh head when Koffee touch stage," Lila said. She was right.
Self-described singjay guitarist Koffee closed the show. She opened with her debut single Burning - which had the crowd singing along. She included Legend, written for track star Usain Bolt, and two unreleased songs, Haffi Mek It and Pressure.
The vibe heightened with Ragamuffin, which had the rapt audience singing along - even catching on to Koffee's signature 'uh-huh' ad-lib. It heightened even more when she introduced the closing number, her latest single Toast. The full-house crowd erupted.