Bunj Garlin & Fay Ann Lyons

Bunj Garlin & Fay Ann Lyons

Army Fete 2024: A Battle Among The Big Guns Of Soca For Soca Supremacy

Written by: T'shad De Graff

Army fete dubbed the Safest fete for the Carnival turned out to be a battle among the big guns of Soca for Soca supremacy. It’s the place where the Road Monarch takes root and based on crowd reaction becomes apparent.

With a massive crowd in attendance, Destra Garcia opened the show with a sizzling performance belting out hit after hit, old and new. Not letting the criticism of her “Podcast”  like performance at CIC’s Fete get to her; she even made light of the comments. Destra entertained the crowd nonstop for the next 40 or so minutes. With flags, rags, hands, and phones waving,  patrons showed love to the Queen of Bacchanal.

Then that phrase we all know so well at this time belts out from the back. “What are you doing??” and out came Yung Bredda to help close off Destra’s performance with their collaboration’Rosie’. The Crowd loved every bit of the chemistry between the two. Yung Bredda left the stage and Destra took us for one last throwback before she exited. It’s hard to top that opening performance!

Yung Bredda would come back onto the stage with his entourage in tow—the nonstop dancer in Pimpin and Dj Hotty to help him deliver their crowd favorites. In a bit of a cultural blend, he then brought out Nishard M to belt out a few chutney classics. Yung Bredda would leave the stage for the last time and Nishard M would continue to serenade us.

The artist Rome who was hosting for the night came on stage again to announce none other than the legendary Allison Hinds, the Soca queen of the Caribbean. She took us back in time with her hits like Faluma/Makelele, Togetherness, and in the nation of the Steelpan, Iron Bazodee.

Even after 1 in the morning the crowd is not tired one bit. The next artists would definitely test that. The announcement of Lyrikal was met with a deafening roar, but we’d have to wait as there was a brief delay due to some technical difficulties. Coming on stage to a melodious guitar riff Lyrikal and Nailah Blackman’s voice belts out from backstage sending the crowd into a frenzy. Both Lyrikal and Nailah Blackman jump out on stage to the bass of their hit song Best Self. These 2 have also been an inseparable duo these past carnival seasons; a winning formula needs no changing.

Next to the stage was Nadia Batson to perform her hit for the season, Market. This song has been infectious since it came out, with patrons boldly screaming her chorus “I am the whole, the whole. The whole blinking Market.” Nadia would continue to treat the crowd with her other current hit ‘Every time’.

Keeping the energies going’ Olatunji would take to the stage to perform what we the people have dubbed the 2023 National Anthem, ‘Engine Room’. Olatunji is one performer who never ceases to entertain. With energy non-stop, he danced and slid on stage as he delivered ‘Inventor’ his big song for 2024.

Up next, the Queen of Resilience, Patrice Roberts would perform her soca therapy song, ‘Anxiety’. How can something so soothing be so electrifying? “Soca makes we stronger together,” the crowd sang, clearly in agreement. Every soul in attendance was either swaying or jumping. A little wardrobe malfunction did nothing to limit her energy or mobility. She sang another of her fan favorites “Carry On” as she would bring on Preedy and leave the stage.

Preedy sang his hit “ Road” before Patrice came back on stage to belt out hit after hit, going deep into her extensive soca catalog. She would sing Anxiety one last time to the deafening chorus of the crowd. With this crowd in the palm of her hands, she’d climb downstage side turning the performance into a beautiful, intimate setting as she sang amongst the partygoers.

It will take someone special to follow that performance, and that special someone was the new Junior Calypso Monarch Mical Teja. Before he charged to the stage the crowd knew what was coming. Waiting patiently in anticipation to sing along with him. His performance started with ‘Hall of Fame,’ to ‘DNA’, then Runaway. The performance of Runaway always leaves the crowd in a beautiful trance as they sing about Lorraine.

It’s minutes to 3 in the morning, the energy is unwavering. One last jolt before the main performance; Pumpa jumps on stage with his hit ‘A-List’. Another short but sweet performance as the crowd roared to life.

Now we get to the main event. The next act announced by the host to come on stage is Soca Royalty, Bunji Garlin, and Fay-Ann Lyons: The Vikings.

Bunji Garlin bursts onto the stage and you can feel the bass riffling through your clothes. His energy and voice could wake the dead at this point. The sound levels rose to deafening heights. It was a pore-raising start to the set as he belted out ‘Carnival Contract’. That “hey hey hey” chant alone can lead men into war.

If you thought the energy couldn’t’ get higher, you’d be wrong. Fay-Ann Lyons comes out and the crowd erupts. This husband-and-wife duo is an advantageous musical collaboration. The crowd would continue to be at their mercy for the next hour. Whether it’s Bunji belting out his hits with the help of Fay-Ann, or Fay-Ann championing the crowd with Bunji playing hype man, the crowd enjoyed every part of their performance.

Both Fay-Ann and Bunji dove deep into their soca catalogs to give us some throwbacks. Bunji Garlin took a minute to acknowledge he’s been gracing stages, thanks to the support of the fans, for a quarter century. Taking us back to one of his most unforgettable soca monarch performances, he sings “Blaze Di Fire,” stirring the nostalgia of everyone in attendance.

Minutes to 4 in the morning and the energy never dropped. They were the main act for a reason, and their experience in performance and soca expertise shone bright at Army Fete 2024

There was only one thing to do at 4 o’clock when they left the stage. Go Home.

 

 

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