Shaggy at the small capacity Grog Shop Club in Cleveland? Even as the start time reached on a chilled, rainy Cleveland evening, it was still a question as to if this would really be “Shaggy.” There is a Reggae singer called “Shaggy Wonder” and it appeared it may be that “Shaggy.” The line of people flowing out of the club and a giant tour bus humming just a few yards away from the Grog Shop entrance was the tip-off that this was Shaggy himself.
The night started out with just two musicians: Justin on violin and Dylan on percussion. Thought was that Shaggy’s group had put together this musical twist on Dancehall, but the Grog Shop was responsible. Both players are classically trained musicians from Cleveland. The duo created a unique sound with violin riffs and a variety of percussive sounds that drew the crowd to the stage to see the source of sound. Justin unleashed a Brazilian percussive instrument in the form of a long tube with metal studs which created some crazy sounds. A rapper by the name of “Tut,” led the vocals which played heavy on call and response. The crowd loved it and was ready for Shaggy.
A six-piece band quickly set up with two harmony singers and Shaggy walked up on stage to greet the energetic crowd, which was accompanied by an audible boom from the Cleveland audience. Shaggy was instantly comfortable with the crowd and voiced his approval of the packed house. Shaggy performed his big tunes “Loverman,” “Summertime,” “Mr. Boombastic,” and a version of “Oh Carolina.”
The show consisted of numerous interludes with Shaggy calling on the ladies and the “party people” in the crowd to dance and display their winery. Humor is a key ingredient to Shaggy. At one point he stopped the music abruptly to question the dancing of the ladies while raising his right eyebrow well above the sunglasses he was wearing. Then he flung his glasses across the stage and whipped into another tune. With the high level of fame that Shaggy hit, this show had a flash and polish reflective of his years of stage experience, unlike the gritty New York style dancehall of the 90’s which was the foundation for Shaggy. Another sequence involve dj “Kue” which involved spinning modern hip hop and reggae tracks to stimulate the crowd further. This was a great night for a huge Reggae star here at the smallest of clubs. A great intimate experience for ReggaeMusikLovinPeople!
Shaggy’s 2014 release involved the “Rhythm Twins” Sly and Robbie. This drum and bass combination are the modern day godfathers of the Reggae Riddim, not to mention influences on the drum and bass” genre.