Dr. Jay's Return Fete at Koolhaus in Toronto
Why do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I keep spending hundreds of dollars to go to Toronto just to go to one party? I ask myself this each time I take the shot of rum needed to calm my nerves before getting on a plane. Apparently, I am not the only one who finds this behavior strange. "No one comes to Toronto so often just to party," the Immigration officer said while flipping through my passport in the private room. Perhaps, but they would if they knew what it was like to attend a Dr. Jay fete at Koolhaus. Thousands of people wait in line (regardless of sun, rain, or snow) and fill the large warehouse with powder-flinging soca junkies. This party was no different. I waited in line with my fellow socaholics, quickly shed my many layers that kept me from feeling the full effects of the 9-degree-weather, and proceeded into the party.
The large space was already full when I walked in around midnight - an anomaly in New York. I passed through the sea of wining men and women and found myself a spot in front of the stage. Within minutes I was sweating from wining, drinking, and waving my rag. But this was only the prelude. Soon, it was show time and Nadia Batson kicked off the performances with "Party Never Over," her collabo with 5 Star Akil.
Not only was the party not over, it was just starting. She continued to throw out hit after hit until ending with everyone waving flags to the unity mantra "One Island." At this point, it was time to "Shake Dat" with JoJo. I am not sure how many men I danced with during the extended version of this song, but I definitely followed instruction.
Shaking it at my age, however, results in lower back and leg pain. Yes, I was tempted to step to the side and slow down but then 5 Star Akil reminded me that I am a feter to meh heart and "when you thinking that I done, done, done, I now start!" I got my second wind and kept going through his and Ravi B.'s segments. Next, it was New York's turn to represent and that is exactly what Lyrikal did. "Conquer Meh" and "25/8" had everyone jumping and singing along, but it was "Lockdown," his collaboration with Groovy Soca Monarch Kerwin DuBois that got the crowd amped. Kerwin took the stage and the crowd erupted in cheers!
With so many hit songs like "Press A Button," "Forget About It," "Spoil Mehself," and "Bacchanalist," Kerwin had everyone in Koolhaus in a gear. But the surprise of the night was when he brought out Farmer Nappy to perform his mega hit "Big People Party."
One thing that always amazes me about Toronto feters is the way they continue to party even after the live performances have ended. Why? The amazing cast of KOS deejays keep the party vibe going strong when deejays in New York or Boston would be winding it down. We continued to jump and wave for over an hour after the artists left. That was my limit. I left the way I always leave a great party, smiling and sweaty.
I always have a great time when I go to Toronto parties, but I feel like the Return Fete has the most vibes. Dr. Jay strives to bring the energy and fun of Trinidad fetes to Toronto for those of us who were unable to attend Trinidad Carnival or for those still suffering from a Carnival Tabanca. Well, in an interview during "Soca Therapy" on Toronto's Chry FM, 5 Star Akil said, "I felt like I was back in Trinidad at one of those big fetes." Mission accomplished, Dr. Jay.
So when you see me post that I am once again heading to Toronto for a soca party, don't ask me why. Just get your ticket and leh we go!