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Romain Virgo Live at San Francisco

Romain Virgo Live at San Francisco

Romain Virgo Live at San Francisco

By on - Photos by VP Records - 1 comment

Romain Virgo at Paradise Lounge, San Francisco, April 7, 2010

Sampler

In San Francisco, the land of diverse dance party situations where all the selectors' crates and hard drives are brimming with world music tracks, it takes a special breed of weekly party to survive and thrive. DJs Daneekah and GreenB (a.k.a. Coo-Yah! Ladeez) have been heating up dancehalls and sustaining the flame with their weekly Coo-Yah! Wednesdays in San Francisco since late 2007. Each spinning their own sets, collaborating and inviting guest DJs representing various cities, counties and sound systems, they’re an unstoppable team of pure hot gyal gusto with a diverse crew of loyal fans. On April 7, the pair pulled out all the stops with their special gift to the Bay Area dancehall massive; a free, live performance by Bay Area virgin Romain Virgo. The rising reggae star was the winner of Jamaica’s Digicel Rising Stars competition in 2007 (which is the equivalent to our nation’s fine talent search program, American Idol) and also happens to be behind one of the biggest dancehall tunes of the moment, “Love Doctor.” (You know, one of the reasons why every sorority girl at UC Berkeley can say she loves reggae. Which is cool, just saying).

But Virgo is far from a one hit wonder and the furthest from a manipulated, studio-synthesized voice with fancy sunglasses atop a blank stare. In an interview fresh off the plane from Jamaica on Wednesday, live on KPOO with Bay Area DJ Irie Dole of Jah Warrior Sound System, Virgo spoke about his Christian upbringing, his days as the school choir front man and the poor song choice that cost him the Rising Stars competition win in 2006. (But it was cool - One year later, he took the title).

Reggae artists that roll through the Bay Area have the challenge of following DJs who are spinning pure fire to the tune of Sizzla, Mr. Vegas and Anthony B for loyal crowds that they know well. The selectors set the stage for the guest of honor pulling up the balmy island vibes with the Waga Waga riddim beneath Demarco’s “Pull it Selecta” and Sizzla’s “So Lovely,” (also both Jamaican artists). By midnight, the lounge was perfectly packed, enough space to dance and even check one’s fair reflection in the wall of mirrors (Coo-Yah! Ladeez know what’s up with the dancehall necessities). Those who loved this selection would also dig Bay Area DJ Stepwise’s recently released mixtape featuring Anthony B with some of the hottest dancehall tunes for the crowd who crave more than the Collie Buddz and Serani.

It didn’t seem possible, but at 12:50, when Virgo came on the stage, humbly sporting an American Eagle tee shirt and track jacket, washed over with the red, gold and green from the stage lights, the energy continued to build. Blasting off with his three biggest tunes, “Cyaan Sleep” (over the “Feel Good Riddim” from Beres Hammond’s classic “I Feel Good”), “Who Feels it Knows It” and “Love Doctor,” he maintained the same energy from the moment he jumped on stage before switching gears with soulful “I Wanna Go Home.” With sustained perfect pitch and a connection with the crowd (read: strategic eye contact with the ladies at key moments) it was evident throughout that Virgo means show business, and he sure as hell is hard working. Irie Dole, who hosted the show and backed Virgo on the controls throughout the set, dropped into the ultra fresh and clean Boops riddim for a rendition of Virgo’s uplift anthem “Live my Life.” (Which is indeed a great song. But honestly, I could listen to Miley Cyrus over Boops riddim and love it.) After about forty minutes, Virgo bowed out as quickly as he’d humbly appeared, wrapping up with “Alton’s Medley,” a selection of tunes by the “Godfather of rocksteady,” Alton Ellis.

Romain Virgo will be releasing a self-titled album on June 8, 2010. The Coo-Yah! Ladeez plan to nice up the dancehall with live performances planned for Coo-Yah! Wednesdays this summer and beyond.

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Posted by Jen on 04.18.2010
This was an amazing show!! Perfect in every way! Romain is an amazing performer!! This show rated up there with The Raggamuffin Festival with Tarrus Riley and Barrington Levy etc.. Romain is gonna be a big name artist very soon and win some Grammy's!!

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