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Bajan invasion in Bequia

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Bajan invasion in Bequia

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Barbadian band NexCyx seems to be always welcome at the Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest, which is now well established as a highly significant event in the tourism calendar.
Billed to be an extraordinary weekend of musical entertainment, the tiny Grenadine island of Bequia began filling up with visitors in the days before the January 24 to 27 event with a record 200 or more yachts crowding the harbour in Admiralty Bay.  
The drawing cards were the legendary Spice & Company, slated to appear in St Vincent and the Grenadines for the first time, and award-winning NexCyx, who had two performances.
This year’s event kicked off Thursday, January 24, at the Frangipani Hotel, when a record number of visitors, yachtsmen and Bequia residents thronged the open air waterfront bar to hear and be amazed by the outstanding young talent of the 13-piece Elite Steel Orchestra from St Vincent.
Friday night belonged to the Mustique Blues Festival with scores turning out to see the legendary Dana Gillespie perform with her London Blues Band and guests.
Bequia’s newest band Infinity opened the show on Saturday, January 26. Then it was the turn of Music Fest favourite Toby Armstrong and his band from Barbados to take to the stage.
Armstrong won over fans with his extraordinary guitar performance, as did award-winning pan virtuoso Ziggy Walcott, brilliant young saxophonist Joseph Callender, drummer Dwight Callender Jr, and bassist Marius Charlemagne.
Joining them on stage for a tenth anniversary Mount Gay Blues Band reunion was Garvie Griffith on vocals and acoustic guitar, vocalist Jomo Lord, guitarist Scott Zimmerman and Kirk Redman on drums.
Then it was the turn of Spice & Company. The venue was packed, the atmosphere was hot, and what a show it was!
Alan Sheppard, Dean Straker and Roger Foster had the crowd on their feet “bumping and wining” from the opening bars of Rasta Man, De Congaline and more – the songs just kept on coming.
On stage for over 90 minutes, Spice & Company – with James Lovell on drums, Andre Clarke on keyboard, vocalists Tamara Marshall and Jan Keiser, and saxophonist Kelly Patrick – gave a truly stellar performance that Bequia will never forget.
But there was yet more to come with the last act of the night. Bequia took NexCyx to their hearts three years ago, and have followed their fortunes ever since so it’s not surprising the house went wild with their electrifying performance of numbers old and new, bringing the excitement to fever pitch until after 2 a.m.
Lead singer Mahalia had fans screaming for more from both her and co-vocalist Rochelle Griffith, with Kris Clarke, Russell Padmore, Andre Clarke and Chadd Ifill pumping up the pressure on bass, lead guitar, keyboard and drums, respectively, and Andre Forde guesting on pan.
The last day, Sunday, saw a relaxed and varied crowd enjoy the closing day with great performances by Bequia’s Country Relatives, the Denzil Bacchus Blues Band from St Vincent and many others.
As Armstrong joined them on stage for one last time, the scene was being set for the Mount Gay Surprise finale – and who better to close out the Bequia Music Fest than the band that Bequia loves so much – NexCyx!
This time though it was NexCyx 2.0. To the delight of the crowd Sheppard from Spice & Company joined the band on stage for a final, NexCyx-style mega-watt set. A truly fitting climax to a fabulous weekend!
Speaking to the WEEKEND NATION about their performance, the band said: “It was super cool to close the show on the final night since it was the last show of the tenth instalment of the festival. As usual, the crowd in Bequia was pumped and fuelled the show. That night was definitely a memorable performance.”
The band was asked about the surprise collaboration with Sheppard from Spice & Company.
“That actually happened spur of the moment. Allan has been an influence and inspiration for some time now and the vibes were just right. We performed Bob’s Song and Aware Africa,” said Mahalia. (NS/PR)