While the rest of New York City was tuned in to the season finale of "Empire," scores of socaholics flocked to Liberty Theater in Midtown Manhattan for Trucked to relive the Carnival experience. The concept was ambitious, but Jay Upscale and THC Promotions pulled it off.
Anyone who is anyone in the New York soca scene was there, including spectators like DJ Young Chow, DJ Toonkie, and fellow soca blogger, SocaSaySo. By the way, if you want to know whether or not your party is "lit," invite a blogger. We made note of the decor, the quality of the deejays, and the fights. (Some minor scuffles broke out and were quickly squashed by security.)
41st Street on a Wednesday evening is always crowded, but not usually with West Indian party people. However, with the promise of seeing eight of the biggest Carnival deejays in one place, there was no question that this would be a sold out event.
The entrance to the theater could be easily missed if you were not deliberately looking for it. I got my wristband and went through the tunnel-like entrance, bypassing the slow-moving coat check line, and headed to the VIP balcony. I placed my coat on a seat, and after getting my $18 Ciroc and pineapple (yep, 18 damned dollars), I went down to the main floor to check out the scene while it was not yet crowded. The mood lighting and swanky setup were great. I definitely feel that having the deejays on the balconies is a brilliant idea. One note to future party organizers, soca parties don't need aerialists - especially when the aerialist seems to have no idea what soca is. As dance space became limited, people were frustrated with having to move aside for the young lady to be hoisted into the air.
Since the point of this party was to showcase the best Carnival Truck deejays, the lineup had to be impressive. When I arrived around 6:30pm, Freeze International was spinning throwback hips-swaying soca. I'm not sure how he ended up being a warmup deejay since his high-energy S.S.S. (Secret Soca Society) parties are already becoming the standard for anti-stush feting... but that's not my business.
Trinidad's Nuphoric brought out more of the power soca. Patrick Alexis took to the main floor stage to emcee for the deejay team and encourage ladies to come on stage and demonstrate their worst behavior. I have never seen this team before, but I will definitely keep an eye out for them from now on.
I have seen his recent social media posts alluding to folks hating on him, but anyone who has ever been to a party where Riggo Suave is playing has nothing but respect for his talent. He and his partner The Executive had everyone in a gear - probably because Riggo was standing on the ledge of the balcony like a madman. DJ Back to Basics took over and soon had the crowd in a rousing chorus of "Bumpa like raaaain!"
No Carnival Truck party would be complete without DJ Private Ryan. Kudos to the promoters for bringing out one of the veterans in the game. Private Ryan skillfully played everything from reggae to rap to Afrobeat to soca, proving that he is certainly "the most versatile deejay in the world."
As if having the hottest deejays take us on a musical journey was not enough, Angela Hunte performed her hit "Party Done" to an audience so caught up in the song that they sang louder than she did. Surprise guest Lyrikal also performed live. I have seen him at many events in the past and his performances continue to get better and more engaging. (Side eye to the Soca Monarch judges.)
So with the the uncertainty in Brooklyn over venues and permits, will we be seeing more parties in Manhattan this summer? Or will West Indian Brooklynites realize that we need to respect our venues and the residents surrounding them so that we can keep our parties in our neighborhoods? Regardless, socaholics will flock to well-promoted, and well thought out events in either borough. Trucked proved that, once they playing music, we dey in it!
Click here for more pictures from Trucked.