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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thoughts on Tribe's Wings of Desire

Firstly, I am no fan of Tribe so note that there will be biases in this post.  For instance, I had a smh moment when I saw that their promo video for the band launch featured no soca. Really Tribe? Sometimes I wonder how much are these bands and their cult following concerned with promoting and preserving Trinidad Carnival, but again, that's my bias speaking. They are not.  I also don't like that you have to get past a gatekeeper to register withTribe, but I don't blame the band for that, I blame these soul-less masqueraders.  Now if you think I'm being too harsh here, try observing a Triber or a wannabe Triber around registration time...the devil makes a mint off of them...

Anyways, I am not completely anti-Tribe, but will give them credit where it's due. According to costume guru, Saucy, Tribe does literal interpretations well for the bikini and beads crowd.  If you remember Ole time Something Come back Again (which was my absolute favorite), Birds of a Feather, Butterflies, Beasts, and Bacchanal, and Tribe 10, these were all fabulous overall presentations.  For this reason I thought 2015 's Wings of Desire, which was supposed to be inspired by the Victoria Secrets' angels, would be brilliant.

Overall, Wings of Desire is simply, boring.  I expected more of the Victoria Secrets-esque wings with more vibrant and new color combinations.  I do not agree with the tired arguments that the designs are not original, they look too Brazilian, they are too skimpy...blah blah blah.  These critics need to remember that Tribe's model is not based on being cutting edge or producing Minshall type costumes.  They are satisfying their market, the same way that Poison did several years ago.  And while I'm on the Minshall and MacFarlane type costumes, a lot of them weren't original interpretations.

My main criticism of Wings of Desire, is that overall, the presentation is boring, but if you look closely, there are lots to applaud.  I think it's superficial to say that all the costumes "look the same". If you are of this opinion, I urge you to look closely at Solange Govia's designs. Vice's body wear where the sleeve and the illusion panty are remarkable concepts.  Although I'm not a fan of the color combo on Crave, she got the wings right and the details on the bra and necklace cannot be ignored.

Another costume where the body wear stood out is Raw. Oh em gee, do you see that bikini cut???

My overall favorite costume is Anya Ayoung-Chee's Luxe.  She captures the Victoria Secrets' wings and her signature fabric cape is the ish.

Source: Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Costume Photos

But these specific details on some of the designs do not help with the overall look of the band. More importantly, these are Frontline costumes and they make up a minority on the road.  Furthermore, at this point we have no idea what the backline will look like, but I predict they will all be lackluster and a poor scaled down version of the Frontline.  Over the years, Tribe's basic backlines have deteriorated and look like little or no effort went into them.  And for the males, just accept that board shorts and armbands will forever be your destiny in Tribe....

Finally, I would just like to point out to people, especially those outside of Trinidad and Tobago, that Tribe is not the be all and end all of the Trinidad Carnival experience although it is represented as such.  There are lots of other bands that do not require so much effort to get in and offer more for their backlines. If you are not into the bikini and beads, there are other bands that offer more creative representations.  If you don't want to play mas with 5000-6000 people, there are smaller bands.  If you want a more elaborate male costume, there are bands for you.  If you want to pay less, you can.  The Trinidad Carnival is not as insular as it may seem to be...

Soca vs Dancehall- Review

July 12, 2014
Hope Gardens
JMD$3000 (presold)

Out of all the soca sessions for summer in Kingston, I opted for Soca vs Dancehall.  I attended SVD last year and wasn't blown away so I wanted to give it another chance. Even though it's not a true soca fete, I had a good time, not the best, but good enough.

Throughout the night I kept getting mixed responses from people I knew.  Some were having a blast, while others felt it was boring.  I am going to go out on a limb and say they were all correct.  You see SVD is not for the die-hard soca lovers in Jamaica, but it works well to attract the non-soca crowd, especially those who are familiar with the standard 10 soca songs.  For those who didn't know, the theme is soca AND dancehall, so you should be prepared for the genre mix.  I admit that I was one of those who tuned out during the dancehall set, but I didn't mind it too much because it was not the real hardcore dancehall you would hear at a passa passa or container satdaze. 

Yes I know..I need to work on my pics

I am not an expert, but I do know that not every deejay can mix dancehall and soca well, which was the real problem at the party.  The deejays were either really good at mixing soca or really good at mixing dancehall, but not both.  For instance, Coppershot failed at soca ...miserably..and Dei Musicale fell flat with their dancehall set.  My suggestion is to leave the genre to its expert deejays.

I had no complaints about the bar.  I obtained my usual Johnnie and coconut water mixes without problem during the night.  I also liked that Haagen Dazs ice-cream was included.

Don't worry, I had my lactaid

As much as Hope Gardens is accessible and I suspect that it's a cheaper venue, it has become soca central.  I've been to so many parties at Hope Gardens that they've all merged into one memory.  For those who found SVD boring, could it be that they are tired of the same venue, the same themes, the same patrons, the same deejays? Again, it depends on who you talk to.  Although the soca crowd in Kingston is small, probably it's time to change it up.  What about an out of season Jouvert or breakfast party or even a cruise? (Thank me later promoters)....

Yet, there were many, I believe the majority, who had a blast at SVD and were just grateful for the little soca in July.  The SVD crew did well but with a party that's held so often, they need to think about the future of the concept...