Soul Train Award winner Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez and his wife, Fay-Ann Lyons delivered an electrifying performance to close off the action at the eighteenth annual Hilarians All Inclusive fete on Saturday night.
Taking the stage around 11 p.m, Garlin and his Viking Asylum band seemed to immediately energise the crowd, which had displayed lacklustre behaviour throughout the evening.
The four-time Soca Monarch King and three-time Road March Queen wasted no time in engaging the audience and soon had them spellbound as they shared their combined catalogue of hit songs.
Earlier in the evening, Dil-E-Nadan kicked off the live action as patrons streamed into the venue from all around the country. Roy Cape All Stars followed around 7.30 with DJ Alicia “The Duchess” Awai filling the gaps in between the bands.
Destra Garcia and Bakanal enjoyed a rousing welcome around 9.m., but not even the “Queen of Bakanal” and her new cohorts, Olatunji Yearwood and Stuart “Silva” could incite the rather passive audience to collective fervour. To be sure, patrons feasted on an assortment of delectable treats, including: roti, bake and shark, tacos, lasagna, corn soup, doubles, wings and more, in addition to a main creole meal.
Ice cream, cakes, champagne and other premium beverages were also made available and even President Anthony Carmona was present on the hallowed school grounds for this event. By the time Bunji arrived on stage, a threatening rain cloud had been blown past and the air was ripe for some excitement. Garlin and his wife displayed acute stage presence and crowd control and did not have to resort to some of the more typical interactive techniques used by other performers on the night.
Speaking to the Express afterward, Garlin said he has been making a deliberate effort to keep his performance aesthetic spontaneous and fun-filled, even though it is still planned and rehearsed with the Asylum Viking band. He said:
“In working on the Red Light District concert over the last few weeks, we realised how much more we could do when on stage and in terms of using simple stage tricks – or techniques I should say, to add to our performances and to make each one unique and special to that audience. We are always learning and looking for ways to improve our show and I’m humbled and appreciative that we were well-received on the night. Now it’s just to multiply that by 300 million and spread it around the globe.”
Last week, Garlin shocked fans when he posted on his Instagram page that he would not be able to deliver the type of full-length concert he had originally intended at the “Red Light District” event scheduled for Friday February 7 – due to time constraints and a hectic performance schedule. The talented performer explained that the event would still present a different aesthetic and vibe from the usual fete atmosphere and encouraged fans to attend.
“After discussions with promoters and all parties involved, we decided to make it party instead where we will still make our appearance, smash the venue and have loads of fun. We wanted it to be perfect for the fans and really execute all kinds of different concepts, but the idea came a bit late to really get all the stuff together that would be necessary to coordinate and rehearse in order to execute to perfection. Nonetheless, I hope to see everyone at the O2 Park on February 7 as we transform it into the Red Light District. It’s time to party the sexy way.”