Screaming fans, clapping hands, a delightful fusion of young Barbadian talent and the intimate atmosphere of the Frank Collymore Hall all came together to create an amazing night of soul last Friday.
Hundreds of fans got the opportunity to be upclose and were simply blown away by the unplugged cast of Niki Nicole, Simon Pipe, Miguel White and Hal Linton.
Preceded by a dance featuring Aisha Comissiong and Ghelisa Mayers, Niki hit the stage and from the first song you could tell this Pretty Girl Can Rock. Although not presenting any originals on the night, Niki’s vocal range and rich tone gave an original twist to the covers she presented. She later kept Love On Top, then added 1+1 also by Beyonce to the set, much to the appreciation of the audience.
There was nothing but Good Vibrations as Simon Pipe, with guitar in tow appeared onstage to rapturous applause accompanied by his backups Indrani and Onika Best. Confessing that he wasn’t one of many words, Simon smoothly transitioned to another of his 2011 singles Let’s Get Crazy, which the patrons sang word for word.
The unofficial Frank Collymore Hall ‘choir’ left their baggage behind and quickly boarded the Simon train as he covered Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready.
Pipe ended his set with arguably the most popular of his singles, If Only These Walls Could Speak. “Oh sorry do y’all know this one?” Simon asks as the walls echoed with the strains of the chorus.
Miguel well known for his ragga soca, fused this with the acoustic theme of the night to create something truly amazing. Songs like Hey Cutie Girl, Come Close to Me and Krosfyah’s Pump Me Up came alive as Miguel paired his vocals with Andre Clarke on piano and Michael Hope on guitar.
Miguel got even closer with the audience as he left the stage and engaged in vocal harmony with James Leacock while singing Bob Marley’s Jammin’. He returned to the stage, and with the help of Niki ended his set with Redemption Song.
Needing no introduction, Hal emerged onstage and immediately seduced the audience with his smooth, soulful style and placed them under his Mind Control. Hit after hit, like Cardiac Arrest, Hey Love, You Don’t Have To Cry No More, She’s Dangerous (Bang Bang) and Dance In The Mirror were savoured by those in attendance who swayed and sang in their chairs.
Hal then traded the soft and smooth style for edgy, rugged Hip-Hop as he invited Sunrokk and RyMinister onstage for a ‘sick’ spouge ‘word clinic’. Three patrons suggested three words: fusion, lilac and pelau, which worked as the basis for an improvised song.
With Hal providing the hook and percussion, Sunrokk and RyMinister providing the rhymes and Russell Padmore on guitar, the results were epic. Hal gave the ladies the treat of a Lifetime as he covered Maxwell and Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved before ending the evening with his Southern Hospitality.
Unplugged/Uncut was a fusion of vocal runs, love, soul and chants; it even included some lilac pants. Those who attended left saying WOW! This was even sweeter than chicken in your pelau.