Our article headline might have been an overkill of puns 😊 but it definitely doesn’t overexaggerate the great performances Leroy Sibbles, Tanya Stephens, Richie Spice, Chaka Demus and Pliers gave on April 29, 2023, at the vast and scenic Plantation Cove in Priory, St. Ann. This is the third of the series dubbed Coveside Concerts. Our very own island stream of concerts served by Jamrock’s musical giants and greatness. A string of musical fiesta this author particularly longed for. Growing up with grandparents who usually serenade a beautiful Sunday afternoon with music before my time, I thought it would be impossible to see the legends when I was actually old enough to. But, thanks to Vonni Koromanti, Plantation Cove, their sponsors and the collaborations they made in the music industry, Jamaicans can now experience top-notch tuneful productions!
The venue, Plantation Cove had us shouting “wi outside!”. Being so near to the sea where the sun backdrops the evening as it sets was invigorating. Waiting for the concert to begin sped by as we munched on fritters, jerk chicken and sipped some cool Malta. The evening kicked off with Dance Xpressions utilizing dance to take us up and down memory lane, with hits old and TikTok new. Then, we were warmly greeted by out host, Foundation reggae singer, producer and ordained gospel minister, Tommy Cowan.
The first act for the evening was musician and producer, Leroy Sibbles. The crowd immediately began rocking as he sang “Party Time”, making it his own as we echoed in chorus and movements the song’s sentiment, living some life before we’re old/cold. Leroy’s lovely voice enveloped us whole tune after tune and when he took up the bass, we were just as engrossed. We learned (while those who knew were reminded) that Leroy Sibbles is responsible for some of Reggae’s greatest bass lines such as Burning Spears "Ceeation Rebel" and "Door Peep", Dennie Brown's "No Man Is An Island", and The Abyssians "Satta Massa Gana” and more. Leroy was in his element.
Leroy’s performance was followed by Reggae Rastarfarian, Richie Spice who carried his hits with a lion’s flair. More people got up to move to tunes like “Blood Again”, “Earth a Run Red”, “Black like a Tar”, “Brown Skin”, “Grooving My Girl” and more. Near the end of his session, Dancehall artist Charly Black joined him, adding more energy to Richie Spice’s force of a performance. They did together their song, “Searching For”. Charly Black mentioned his new album “No Excuses” and just that song they did on stage had me mentally noting that album to look into.
After that, there was a 20-minute break where patrons could break away from the attention-keeping performances to get something to eat/drink. The food and beverage further added to the enjoyment of this Coveside Concert. Concert-goers also used this chance for photo-ops with the stars who had just performed.
After bellyful and gas burp off lol (because some of us coming from faaarrr – other parishes/countries), the joy tripled as veteran and vivacious musician Tanya Stephens entered the stage ‘without mannaz’ which we of course welcomed. Tanya’s stage presence is electrifying. Her session was only enhanced by the feisty and fun back stories of her songs. She belted out hits like “Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet”, “Boom Wuk”, “Tek Him Back”, “Can’t Breathe”, “It’s a Pity”, “To the Rescue”, “These Streets” and more. Tanya gwaan well nice, fueling the ladies lol but also was real about the meaning of some of her lyrics and how these might just for the art of songwriting (not particularly something one should/could do like cooking better than another female ha!). Each performance had its own unique happiness from the audience as many sang along to some hits and reacted to whatever the artists shared on stage. It was that kind of intimate vibe that Plantation Cove provided without decreasing the production’s quality.
The night was closed (but felt like it just started) by the headliners, Chaka Demus and Pliers. Definitely a duo who moved the crowd as if it was a dancehall session. Their back-up singers were so on point, and one couldn’t help but admire their harmonies. “Murder She Wrote” is notably one of the best songs in this world and their performance was nothing less than of that caliber. “She Don’t Let Nobody” could be the soundtrack of the sunset that happened earlier that evening. When they got to the height of their performance, the crowd was in a frenzy.
The Original Dancehall Queen, Carlene Smith entered the stage with her pretty face and bad (meant in the Jamaican way) butterfly as she took it down and up. Her dancing made a statement that glory days for some continues on and on. The crowd sang with their hearts, “Murder She Wrote”, Jamaica’s international anthem. It’s amazing how Chaka Demus and Pliers took a book/series and made it their own in song-form. When we thought it was over, the crowd wasn’t ready to go. Minutes after Chaka Demus and Pilers hugged and made it known their encore was over (which was a funny song about woman being smarter), the audience hang on to marinate in the musical magic that just happened. Personally, I wished my grandparents could have experienced this themselves as I know the great impact it would have on them. As if on cue, my grandma messaged me this morning as I barely got any sleep. Excitement in her voice as she asked where Murder She Wrote was held and I answered with exhilaration rather than exhaustion as Coveside Concert has their next hit show coming up in less than a month. This time with Ernie Smith and Pluto Shervington! I plan to tell everyone all about it.
Bravo Coveside Concerts, Plantation Cove, Vonni Koromanti, Murder She Wrote Artists! You all created the musical series Jamaica needs! So readers, don’t let the others miss yuh zeen!!
NB - Writing this on 2 hours sleep so hopefully I don't have that many errors. Thanks for reading.