An ode to Xterminator

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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SIZZLA, one of the main artistes from Phillip “Fattis” Burrell's Xterminator music group, was noticeably absent from Wednesday's tribute at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew.

The event was part of Reggae Wednesdays, organised by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA).

Sizzla's absence, however, did not diminish the quality of performances which included a set by the Firehouse Crew, resident band for the Burrell-led camp. Burrell died on December 3, 2011 at age 57.

The charge was led by Luciano. “The Messenger”, as he is popularly known, gave one of his signature sets, complete with somersaults, audience interaction and a string of popular hits such as Sweep Over My Soul, Messenger, Your World and Mine, This One's For The Leaders and It's Me Again Jah.

Another former member of the Xterminator Crew in attendance was Mikey General, whose vocals and strong lyrical content brought back memories of the 1990s when Burrell’s camp was in its heyday. Mikey General rocked the audience with Miss Taylor Boy, Father God Almighty and African Story.

Of note was the set by singjay Jabari, son of Firehouse Crew drummer George “Dusty” Miller. His stinging lyrics caused a stir and made the audience take note.

Lukie D of the quartet LUST also has Xterminator roots and came out to pay his respects. He thrilled the females in the audience with smooth ballads in a short but worthwhile set. D Wisdom, who burst onto the scene in 1990 with the track My First Real Love, was also on hand as well as new act Patchino and Wrong Move, keyboardist and vocalist from the Firehouse Crew.

Prior to the Xterminator tribute, Reggae Wednesdays took patrons on a historical journey through Jamaican music, starting with Congo drumming before going into ska, courtesy of the hornsman aggregation Ska La Reg. The group — which is currently preparing their first album — thrilled with standards including Guns of Navarone, Skamperdown, Sweet Ride, the theme from Spiderman, Monkey Man as well as Hard Man Fi Dead.

The music got more current thanks to the conscious tracks of Micah Shemaiah, then looped back to the 1970s with percussionist Bongo Herman, who, as usual, went into his bag-of-tricks to entertain his audience.

Reggae Wednesday culminates next week.

— Richard Johnson

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