Machel Montano shines at Alternative Concept 3

In spite of nightmarish traffic, thousands of screaming fans made their way down to Pier 2 for Machel Montano and Xtatik's explosive performance in Saturday night's Alternative Concept 3 (AC3). The only consolation for those ticket holders arriving late was that Machel's show proved well worth every hour spent in the bottleneck traffic. Ken Marlon Charles and Red, White and Black set the crowd ablaze, preceded by a solid set from show openers Tony Prescott and Surface. KMC's routine featured Maximus Dan, Party Alliance member, Jungle, and dancehall artiste, Wayne Marshall, who came out declaring that "First Experience" was the 2005 road march. Even as Denise "Saucy Wow" Belfon's expert gyrations left all fully stimulated, a stream of revellers, some of whom had walked from as far as West Mall to escape the stand-still traffic, and who had chosen AC3 over Kama Sutra at Pier 1 and Brass Festival at P.S.A. Grounds, continued to enter the gates. Machel, himself a victim of the traffic outside, eventually took the stage at 2.30 a.m. and prolonged the fete in order to accommodate late-arriving feters. Once on stage, the 30-year-old Montano and his band were virtually flawless, perhaps because their well-choreographed and cleverly sequenced performance was being transmitted live via radio webcast over BBC 1Xtra and recorded for an upcoming DVD. Dressed in a red vest, white shirt, black jacket and black leather pants, Machel captivated the audience for two full hours, the lead singer, songwriter and musician showing his range as he went from wining, jooking and jumping into full splits, to the groovy soca swing of classic Xtatik hits like "Music Farm", to an acoustic guitar rendition of "We not givin up," performed to the classical accompaniment of the Alternative Quartet. The night's show took as many twists and turns as the Chaguaramas Main Road, the centre stage spotlight focusing, in turn, on the limbo of the Keylemanjahro Moko Jumbies, the dance of former members of D Klan, the antics of King Kong Crew's "mad people," and the embattled beauty queen, Cheryl Ankrah, for whom Montano declared his support. The show also featured performances by chutney soca singer, Drupatee, road march contender, Destra Garcia, and finally, Doug E. Fresh--the original human beatbox--and surprise international guest artistes, dancehall stars T.O.K.