Tuesday, 10 April 2012

DVD Review: Showtime

The Heatwave presents… Showtime (A Rollo Jackson film)

Belonging to a family with tight connection to the reggae and dancehall movement in the early 80s and 90s, I’ve never been able to dispute the unity a good sound can bring. Growing up, watching recordings of the latest SunSplash or Sting was considered the norm for those who weren’t lucky enough to be present as the vibes took place on the sunny island of Jamaica, whilst also serving as a visual for those who were to reminisce.

During the same period, the reggae and dancehall sound broke it’s borders, finding an extended home in the UK via the likes of Aswad, Musical Youth, Tippa Irie and the late Smiley Culture. Through these artists and others, the music became an avenue of free creative expression that allowed evolution to take place continuously, bringing fruition of new genres within the UK.

This geographic and musical growth is the focus of Showtime; the brain child of Gabriel and Benjamin D at The Heatwave, bringing together members of the UK dancehall foundations and all the following genres which advanced from it. Welcoming music lovers who are newcomers unfamiliar with the dancehall pioneers to the connoisseurs, the blueprint for the night is “If you love the tune, go insane” states Benjamin D. The Heatwave have made Showtime a place to find education as well as entertainment, in the meantime giving homegrown artists an opportunity to try something new.

Throughout the Showtime DVD commentary from The Heatwave and various artists including Glamma Kid, Wiley, Stylo G, Stush, Lady Chann, Riko Dan and many others, brings together individual experiences of the music, depicting the formation of the inner passion seen exerted while performing on the stage. Filmed at Cargo in Shoreditch, East London on 15 June 2011 in memory of Smiley Culture (a pioneer within the evolution of the dancehall movement here in the UK), homage is paid to the inspiration he gave to many. Artists recollect their own personal memories of Smiley Culture and how they feel his influence presents itself within their music and the music being released throughout up to the present day. In addition the DVD includes a performance from Smiley Culture’s sparring partner Asher Senator which took place on the night of ‘Smiley Culture Character Reference’ adding a nice touch to the overall project.

The acts on the night were in abundance from the various genres; General Levy, Skibadee, Wiley, Lady Leshurr, Stylo G, Stush, Lady Chann, YT, Glamma Kid, Riko Dan, the list just simply goes on! To bring so many strong names under one roof, to perform alongside eachother on one stage is a strong amalgamation of homegrown talent which illustrates the musical unity Showtime and The Heatwave sound represent. I think it’ll be fair to say that the DVD captures a night when history was reformed. I’ll definitely be showing it to my parents!

To obtain your copy of the Showtime DVD go to: http://www.theheatwave.co.uk/showtime
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