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.
The Haslinden Cricket Club is one of the oldest and longstanding Jamaican organizations here in Cleveland, Ohio. Haslinden hosts the Annual Jamaica Independence Celebration in August. The event historically took place ay Kerruish Park off Miles Road. This event started as a gathering of club members and friends. the event has grown into Cricket Match, stage show, food vendors, sound systems, and an event where over a 1,000 people have attended in a single afternoon.
WRUW's Black Scorpio was the President for many years. "Basement" parties were hosted at Black Scorpio's home as well as Russian's home. Very enjoyable times.
This is one of many brushes that Cleveland has had with the world of Reggae music. It involves a youth and unusual timing and opportunity. What are the chances that a youth at age seven would have a chance to perform with Beenie Man on stage and then be offered the opportunity to fly down to Jamaica and perform at Laing’s Sting Concert that same year?
In 2003, Beenie Man visited Cleveland and performed at The Cotton Club on Miles Road. Before the show he had been introduced to a seven year old youth named QT. QT was very young but able to dj lyrics well, understood techniques to get a crowd going and also had charisma. During the Cotton Club show, Beenie Man brought QT out on stage and the crowd loved him – forward upon forward and laughter rang throughout the crowd.
After this show, Beenie Man spoke with QT’s family and invited QT to appear at the 12-26-03 Boxing Day Sting Concert. Later that year, QT appeared at Sting. Beenie Man completed his set and brought out another youth, who appeared to be very young. Next, Beenie called for QT. QT walked out on the stage and was even younger in age and appearance than the former youth. As Beenie Man supplied the introduction, QT stood in front of the crowd estimated at 35,000 and broke into a dance, shaking his body and contorting his face. Then QT gave some lyrics and continued on without hesitation. His eyes lit up and he rocked to the riddim. QT was obviously enjoying himself and was not hesitant or shy – he was there to perform. After that performance, QT walked off stage and was quickly hailed back by Beenie to supply more lyrics. QT took the mic and immediately dj’d “Bun a Chi Chi” lyrics to the pleasure and laughter of the crowd. QT even gave some “Cleveland lyrics,” as he dj’d. What a performance.
It’s not known if Beenie Man ever recorded QT. QT returned to Cleveland, Ohio where he lives to this day.
R. Lowe, 2013
Cleveland Reggae has always struggled to find the ideal location where the ownership favors Jamaican music and culture. A.J., Rocco's is a small coffee shop in the center of downtown Cleveland and this shop is a ReggaeMusicLovinCofffeeShop. Since 2001 A.J. Rocco's has been serving coffee, food, and Reggae music at their location on Huron Road in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
A.J. Rocco's does not feature Reggae on a specific night of the week at the time of this writing, but they did feature Crown Sound System for a long period of time and have featured live Reggae bands over the years. A.J. Rocco's also hosted the first Reggae College Radio DJ session which offered over eight DJs from WJCU, WRUW & WCSB. This DJ session completely packed A.J. Rocco's, the crowd was shoulder to shoulder all night long. Quite a memorable night.
The key is that owner Brendan is a Reggae supporter and when music is the subject, he often reaches for Reggae. It is not by plan, but more by instinct.
To visit the A.J. Rocco's Website - link at: http://ajroccos.com
(l-r) Wally , Afi Nur, Anwar Amir, Hornsman of Steel N' Bread, Ras Matunji, Dave Smeltz, Brignite, Choppper.
This photo was taken at the Cleveland Heights Peabody's Cafe on a Wednesday night approximately 1989 in preparation for a Cleveland version of the former reggae Directory magazine. Peabody's was 'the spot" on Wednesday nights from the late 1970's and into the late 1990s. Peabody's stopped running the weekly Wednesday reggae shows and then later closed down. The City always gave the club problems due to noise and disturbance complaints. The club closed and is now the location of the popular Melt. Melt expanded by opening up the wall on the North end. The original club was "boxy" with an open center down to the basement floor. Patrons could line up around the railing on the second floor and look down to see the bands as they would play in the basement.
The list of local reggae bands that played at Peabody's Cafe is quite large. If there was a band that payed reggae at the time, they surely played at Peabody's. The crowds would line up down the street to get in. The club held approximately 800 people (that's an estimate) and went years selling out on a weekly basis on Wednesday's.
Alongside Ken Boothe is George Gordon from the historical Ital and presently from Carlos Jones & The PLUS Band.
Father Wayne and Ricky Hype from Star Temple Sound. Both are devoted music lovers who always do their homework.
These are photos of the day that the new WRUW radio tower was erected. We had updated our power to 15,000 watts, purchased a new transmitter, and then set up the brand new radio tower.
This is the real thing people!
This was the first time that Black Scorpio & Rich Lowe played at The Barking Spider. A perfect night - full of WRUW listeners, warm evening, and sweet Reggae music.
Ras Matunji (left) pictured here with Afi Neur. Matunji is best known as the front man and bassie for Earth Force Reggae Band.