It costs quite a bit of money for hookah to go to Jamaica, as you might imagine. Fans bought travel packages or show passes at home beforehand. Shows in the past have been private. But this time, it was decided that fans could invite people – locals, spring breakers, tourists, whoever, and to that end everyone was given some invite cards that offered a discount to the holder. Quite a few people took advantage of these, I was glad to see. I spoke to several people who’d never seen hookah before and really enjoyed the shows, even came to all 4 of them. That was really cool.
After dinner we plan to get down to Risky Business to catch Cosmic Railroad, the band that is opening for ekoostik hookah for these shows. But we need to stop at Catcha Falling Star so Snake and Occhy can get ready and between this and that we don’t call Chicken for a ride until maybe a half hour before hookah is supposed to go on.
Chicken has by now put a “Hookah VIP Shuttle” sign on his bus and is driving a lot of the group to and from the shows. Go Chicken 🙂
I stop by Kuyaba to pick up my wristband for the shows from our friend Lee who is running this thing and head on to Risky with the group.
We walk in and Cosmic Railroad is just finishing, I think we caught the last song or two. They sound good.
Risky is a nice venue. Much of it is indoor, under roof but open, the stage is set up outside this but covered, you can watch/dance in the sand or from a deck area, or up on the second floor. I like the layout, the drinks are not ridiculously priced ($4US except they have this dumb token thing probably because Sunsplash Tours was running the bar…nothing says “I don’t trust my bartenders” like tokens). The bartenders are very good, attentive and fast and I never wait long for anything.
There is a seating area with tables and chairs and I head over there to hang out….this goes on for a half hour or so, hugging old friends, meeting some new ones.
Finally it is showtime and it is great. This is BY FAR the best sound we have ever had in Jamaica. Lee arranged it and I believe it is Swaby’s gear..whoever it is their equipment is great and the sound is top notch. It was absolutely as good as larger shows at home and after the past 3 trips where power outages and such were the norm, this is a real treat. Dan, hookah’s sound guy, is of course a master at dealing with any situation. The only odd thing is that some speakers are set behind the crowd, so once in awhile you have the odd sensation of watching John or Dave sing but hearing their voice behind.
As I said, this show was taped, you can listen to it at http://www.archive.org/details/eh2009-03-24.eh2009-03-24.mix.flac16.
By the end of the show, I’d been up since about 3:30 AM and as it is a travel day, I’m pretty beat. But Jamaica gave me a second wind of sorts and I have plans tonight: to go to the Jungle and see Rootz Underground.
My friend Susie and I head over to the Jungle on foot from Risky, we’ll meet everyone else later at a party some folks at a private villa are hosting.
The walk from Risky to the Jungle is not long but oy….Susie is young and cute and the closer we get to the Jungle the more attention she gets. I have a standard “I’m all good” wave and use it a dozen or so times. I am a little surprised to be asked by guys if they can come with us – and will I buy their ticket for them?
Anyway we get to the Jungle and are only charged $500 at the door (instead of the $1500 I expected). That’s my first clue that we are late.
We make our way past the very loud disco and labyrinth of rooms to the upstairs. I’ve never been here and i must say it is beautiful…nice stage, open and covered areas, long bar…really a very nice setup on that top floor.
Rootz Underground is on stage doing a song…we go up front and dance some to it then it ends and they say “Goodnight”!
What? Oh no.
Luckily, I can do a loud whistle and the crowd has evidently been enjoying the show because we are able to get them back onstage for 4 more songs.
I know a lot of their music because i downloaded an album of theirs awhile back and I work out to it all the time at home. Susie is the kind of lady who loves to do anything, and she loves music, so she was really into it too.
I greet Monk, the promoter, who I’ve known online for years but had never met, and we make our way out to the street. I call Chicken to pick us up but he’s going to be a few minutes so we hang out outside.
Again with the guys and Susie…I feel like her mom and in fact I tell a few of them that I may as well be, and they do finally leave her alone. Soon Chicken pulls up with John and our friend Sean in the bus and we head to the villa party.
Continue reading this series:
Jamaica March 2009: 4 – First full day in Negril