[Written by Mikaela Ian Pearman]

Culture Shock 26 was a night to remember thanks to an excellent lineup, great organization and a beautiful night.

The concert was held at Snorkel Park on Saturday night featuring a full lineup of Bermudian and international talent. I hadn’t been to Culture Shock since 2010 having gone yearly since 2005. After a bit of a break, the team was back last year but for whatever reason, I couldn’t attend the show, so I was super excited to go this year. And I wasn’t disappointed.

MC Richie B was on hand to entertain the crowd and introduce the artists. International acts for the evening were D Major, Jahmiel, Christopher Martin and Busy Signal. Bermudian artists included iPree and Chinyere, DIA Band featuring Lijah and Rowdy Piper, General Kaution and BLAC.

One thing I’ve noticed after years of covering events in Bermuda is that Bermudians always come late and miss out on our own artists performing. It’s gotten better over the years, but it’s still not where it should be. At Culture Shock, the crowd wasn’t huge for the opening acts, but better than I’ve seen before midnight at a lot of shows.

And those who came late missed out on amazing Bermudian talent. First thing – DIA is fantastic. I get chills every time I watch them perform because they truly are that good. And when you put Rowdy Piper on the mic, it’s just magic. His stage presence, his voice, his style – all of it amounts to international star and I know I’m not alone in that opinion.

General Kaution also had a great vibe on stage performing his hit Hustla Baby. He brought his dad on stage to perform with him and that made it even more special. I loved his stage presence, his dancing and just his whole set. He’s another one who deserves to go far in his career.

Lijah was the opening act with DIA and performed a few reggae covers. BLAC performed his original music and brought up a great new artist called Status to perform with him as well.

D Major hit the stage after the Bermudian artists and opened with Party Like It’s Your Birthday. And even though he had great energy and good songs, I don’t think the crowd really resonated with his set. I can’t imagine it’s easy for an artist to perform in Bermuda unless they are a superstar.

Jahmiel was up next and had a great performance. He had so much energy while singing songs including Better Tomorrow, Struggles, Gain The World and his hit Where Were You. The ladies in the front loved Jahmiel, especially when he went over to sing to them. I loved his energy and thought he had a good vibe on stage.

My mate Christopher Martin was next to perform, and I have to say he was the best of the night. I first saw Chris perform at Culture Shock in 2010 and then at Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica, so it was nice to see him return to Bermuda to perform at the concert that first brought him here.

He opened up with Mama and sang many of his hits including Paper Chaser, Under the Influence, Cheaters Prayer, Magic and Sole Provider. He also performed an old school set, which showed his vocal range. The ladies loved that part.

But the best part was when he performed his mega hit I’m A Big Deal. I think he pulled it up like four times because the crowd was so into it. That’s pretty much my life anthem so I was definitely feeling it.

With a quick band switch, Busy Signal came to the stage just before 3:30am, which is super late for a Bermuda event. I was tired by then but stayed to watch his set. I had forgotten how much of a catalogue Busy has. I mean, the man sang hit after hit including Step Out, Bedroom Bully, One More Night, Night Shift, Nah Go Jail Again, Unknown Number and much more.

He also had a ton of energy on stage and it was a good switch up to have a true dancehall artist perform in Bermuda. It’s been awhile for me, so I enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, I assume because it was late, a lot of the crowd left once Busy Signal got on stage.

Overall, I had a great time at Culture Shock. I’m so glad this event is back on the summer calendar as it was definitely missed during its hiatus. A big shout out goes out to Keith and Ryan Simmons for an excellent show. I look forward to next year!

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