Wayne Wonder at Western Consciousness 2005 photo by Claudette BrownIt was peace and tranquility, with a lot of conscious, entertaining performances from veteran entertainers and the now generation of reggae crusaders at the 17th staging of Western Consciousness inside the Llandilo Cultural Centre, Westmoreland, on Saturday, April 23, 2005. It ended on a sour note, however, with the unconscious performance by closing act, Fantan Mojah.

In a class by themselves, Beres Hammond, John Holt and Wayne Wonder gave awesome performances and were no doubt the real ‘big performers’ of the night.

Bushman, Morgan Heritage, Chesideck, Jah Mason, I-Wayne, Turbulance, Abdel Wright and the group LMJ all gave superbly entertaining performances, which were well received by the crowd.

Beres Hammond at Western Consciousness 2005 photo by Claudette BrownBeres Hammond, the ‘fantasy singer’ of most female fans, along with his Harmony House band and back-up singers, came on stage to an explosive welcome from the audience who became back-up singers as he belted out ‘Step Aside Now’. The singer crooned his way into the ladies’ hearts and got the men in the mood for love as he sang ‘She Loves Me Now’, Stop A Man From Trying’, ‘Falling In Love All Over Again’, ‘Double Trouble’, ‘Putting Up Resistance’, ‘Groovy Little Thing’, ‘Can You Play Some More’, ‘Tempted To Touch’, ‘They’re Gonna Talk’ ‘Rockaway’ and ‘Come Down Father’ at which point he departed the stage.

The audience, however, would not let him go as the deafening screams of “more Beres!” brought him back to the stage to continue his performance with ‘No Shot Nah Buss’. He then brought on Jimmy Riley for a short stint. Beres took control again singing ‘Never Got Tired’, leaving fully satisfied patrons with ‘Love Means Never To Say You’re Sorry’. If allowed to have their way, patrons would not have let Hammond to leave the stage.

Vintage singer John Holt, who performed before Beres, scored big with the audience and got overwhelming applause when he gave hit songs such as ‘Ali Baba’, ‘Carpenter’, ‘Stick By Me’, ‘Stealing Stealing’, ‘Sweety Come Brush Me’, ‘Tribal War’, ‘Rob And Cheat You’ and ‘Police In Helicopter’ which saw some of the lawmen on the lawns ‘dropping foot’ during his performance. When he ended his segment, he was returned twice by popular demand from the audience who wanted more of him. He gave in to their demands, returning to do ‘Dance And Have Fun’, ‘Wear You To The Ball’ and ‘Up Park Camp’. Holt got nuff love from the audience for his entertaining performance.

It was no holding back for singer Wayne Wonder when he took to the stage. He started with some of his popular tunes – a mixture of old and latest songs such as ‘Searching’, ‘Joy Ride’, ‘Bashment Girl’, ‘Strange Things Are Happening’, ‘No Holding Back’, Wanna Take My Life, ‘Forever Young’, ‘Saddest Day of My Life, ‘Story Of My Life’ and ‘Slowly But Surely’. Like Beres and John Holt, Wayne Wonder too retuned on stage to an encore.

Bushman hit the stage and was an immediate hit with the audience who enjoyed his entertaining performance. The ‘royal family’ of reggae, Morgan Heritage was next. Their performance too was entertaining and enjoyed by persons for whom the song ‘You Don’t Have To Dread To Be A Rasta’ spoke volumes, as every patron showed appreciation for their effort.

Chesideck represented himself well and is certainly among the new league of conscious entertainers to watch in the business. Garbed in full white robe, Jah Mason’s ascent to the stage earned him an overwhelming welcome from the audience.

From the time he came on stage until he wrapped up his performance, I-Wayne was a hit with the crowd. His lecture on healthy ‘livity’, stern warning to the ‘gun dawgs’ and ‘gun John Crows’ and to the people who continue to murder the animals for their flesh was very entertaining.

It was a short ‘reggae tsunami’ early Sunday morning when Turbulance hit the stage. He sent a positive message to all the Rasta brethren who are against condom use, telling them it can spare their lives from AIDS. He received an overwhelming and uproarious response from the audience, which saw him returning to continue his turbulent performance. When he warned the audience about getting gonorrhea because of not wearing condoms, his language was strong and admonishing.

Abdel Wright, playing the guitar and mouth organ (harmonica), gave a good account of himself, especially when he did his hit song ‘Quick Sand’.

After a night of absolutely entertaining performances from all the artistes, Fantan Mojah, who was slated to close the show on a high note, somewhat dropped the ‘mantle of consciousness’ that had prevailed when he started his segment with expletives (in order to get a forward). This saw the members of the security forces, who had extended the ‘grace period’ to the promoters to accommodate Mojah’s performance, unplugging the mic.

Fantan Mojah got the opportunity, not only to give an entertaining performance, but also to be recognised as one of the first upcoming acts to close a show to a full complement of patrons, who had waited patiently for him until the wee hours of Sunday morning.

A no longer ‘hungry’ Mojah (who seems to have ‘arrived’) did not take to this lightly and went on to tell the crowd that the promoters had short-changed them as he did not get to complete his performance. He asked, “what unno a go do bout it?” – an instigation which prompted people in the audience to started throwing bottles onto the stage and into the VIP area.

Several overseas guests, including journalists, along with members of the local media had to scamper for cover as bottles rained down on them. Members of the security forces had to fire shots in the air to thwart the flinging and bring some stability so that patrons could make their way out of the venue.

When Jahworks.org spoke to some patrons they were very upset with Mojah for making such an unconscious move after the vibes had been strictly conscious. “A di first this ever happen a Western Consciousness. Is like him get stage fright.”