It was a case of start and stop at critical moments of ‘Dutty Fridaze’ on Saturday morning, breaking the momentum at the most recent staging of the weekly street dance in Fletcher’s Land, Kingston.
So, although the relatively small turnout settled into a groove at points, by the time THE STAR left at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday the bus ride effect had taken its toll and the dance had not kept the sustained pace required to hit any sort of peak.
In fact, at 5:30 a.m., with night clutching on to the edge of its thin blanket of darkness that a new day was inexorably tugging away, it was more of a musical valley, as a loose circle of dancehall faithful gathered around a couple eager beaver women, who showed how they could twitch said beavers to Elephant Man and Kartel selections. Collie Buddz got a tiny spark going and one lass in blue was asked to turn around to face the selector. He passed her for beauty, his bad judgement excusable, due to poor lighting and distance from a bad bleach job, but not for ticking to Beenie Man’s command to “wriggle up yu body an’ shake up yu a”.
“Yu no quite ketch it yet,” he comforted her, quickly complimenting the other lass in the circle, all in white with a blue lower back tattoo, that “yu got it lock”
Even Mavado’s Twice A Day and forcing up of things inside of things was met with little response, but as the sky turned grey, Bounty Killer’s statement of No Fren Fish got strong response and multiple restarts. It was the start of a rare run of enthusiasm at ‘Dutty Fridaze’, Assassin’s glowering “don’ mek me hol’ yu” and Munga’s “me no see no clash whe me ‘fraida” sending the hands up. One lass in green top and blue jeans, a strip of white underwear bridging the gap between the two, had her turn in Scrappy’s videolight, her rear view destined for viewing on dancehallreggae.com.
But although more people were on the inside of the circle, making moves, very few responded when the selector asked every dancer who loved women to “hol’ a girl right now”. The dance slowed, despite ‘flipping rhymes’ from Munga Honourable, Voicemail’s invitation to “let’s dance” and a demonstration of the ‘Boasy Bounce’ dance for the benefit of the foreigners present, one of whom kept tugging at her hipsters as they slipped down the Caucasian cliffs of her bottom.
It took a change of beat to Sizzla’s Take Myself Away to inject some life back into ‘Dutty Fridaze’, even then the CD player sticking and the selector pressing on, saying “da song ya haffi play dis morning”. Eventually, Busy Signal’s Days got the groove going again, and DeMarco’s Fallen Soldiers got a tremendous response.
But very shortly after Signal’s Nah Go A Jail Again, the music was stopped and the crowd urged to make way for a police jeep from Gold Street, three policemen with automatic rifles aboard, to pass through.
Don’t disturb me
One man toted a skateboard, coming the other way, as the music went back uptempo but the vibe in the party all but died, Sadiki rolling out his money machine to trim the dancing even further. The ‘Gearbox’ rhythm was started, the crowd moved, it was stopped and there were more big ups then silence, after which the selector declared that if “a man disturb me dis morning me jus’ stop play”.
A movie-style fanfare was played, a man on a nicely painted low rider bike posed while his picture was taken as he pulled out, the music was started and stopped for more chatter, a combination between Bob Marley and Kartel on War did not attract much interest, then a couple songs later there was an influx of elaborately-dressed men and women as Mavado described the “gangster life” to the delight of the audience.
By now there were many more in the circle, an older woman grinning as she slow-stepped with two dancers and a dude in full golf outfit, including gloves in the back pocket, passing by toting a golf club.
But the show was not over and after the selector ‘bigged up’ the overweight girls who wanted to diet and the slim girls who wanted to eat some more, THE STAR gave up and hopped off the start and stop bus ride that was last week’s ‘Dutty Fridaze’ at close to 7 a.m.