Antwerp's Petrol Club has steadily established itself as one of the most prominent venues for all kinda music styles -- including Techno, Funk, Soul, Rock, Drum 'n' Bass, Hip-Hop, Reggae and Dancehall -- in Belgium. Since the Petrol opened its doors in the Summer of 2004, the avid Reggae Dancehall fan could enjoy performances by top acts such as Morgan Heritage, Buju Banton, U Roy, Beres Hammond, Tony Rebel, Luciano, Anthony B, Turbulence and The Congos. Next big name to appear on the main stage of the Petrol was the self-proclaimed King Of The Dancehall, Anthony Moses Davis better known as Beenie Man.

Beenie Man's rise to fame started in his home of Kingston, Jamaica, and led him to international pop icon status after almost twenty-five years of hard work. Beenie Man made his recording debut in Jamaica at the tender age of eight, and released a slew of overseas hits from the Caribbean to the U.K., including "Girls Dem Sugar", "Dancehall Queen", "Dude" and "Who Am I", which made him a household name not only amongst Reggae Dancehall fans. He stirred up a huge controversy in 2004 when his song lyrics regarding homosexuality, particularly on the song "Damn", brought him some harsh criticism from every direction, and eventually led to the cancellation of a number of shows in the U.S. in the past three years.

Beenie Man's European "Undisputed" Tour kicked off in a club in London, before he jetted off to Belgium to perform in the Petrol on Tuesday May 8th, 2007. Although it was announced that his wife and performing partner D'Angel would be joining him, she cancelled her involvement in the tour because she wanted to stay with their baby child Marco Dean, who was born in November last year.

After one of Belgium's heaviest and well respected Soundsystems, Far West Crew, had warmed up the growing crowd, it was time to head for the main stage where a rather unknown Jamaican rapper named Raphic tried to show his skills and talent, but tragically failed to make any impression, musically and lyrically spoken. Even though a part of the audience showed some approval, it was obvious that attending his approx. half an hour lasting performance was only a waste of time.

At 10.45pm the members of Beenie Man's backing band, the big bad Ruff Kut from Jamaica, took the stage shortly followed by the King Of The Dancehall himself. His appearance made the crowd scream, shout and jump, thus fully expressing that they had been eagerly awaiting the artist's entrance. It was the start of a full-blown dancehall party, with Beenie Man unmistakable showing that he's the ultimate dancehall performer. During his 85 minutes lasting performance he focused on his dancehall material, although a few reggae pieces were included as well. He packed a ton of material into the concert, at least one got that impression due to the dazzling tempo in which he delivered song after song, including hits like "Deport Them", "Murderer", "Girls Dem Sugar", "Dude", "Bulletproof Vest", "Who Am I", "Slam" and "Tell Me". With each delivery, Beenie Man had the crowd entranced. Also received with great approval were tunes like "Dancehall Queen", "Hypocrite", "Street Life", "Back It Up", and "Romey".

The first part of the show was done in top gear, but it slowed down a little bit from the moment Beenie Man threw in his versions of Tenor Saw's "Lots Of Signs" and The Maytals' "What A Bam Bam". Other covers he did throughout the concert included "Guantanamera", Pliers' "Bam Bam" and Bob Marley's "Turn Your Lights Down Low" and "Redemption Song", with which he rounded off. Of course, the crowd shouted for more... but unfortunately it didn't happen. Those who didn't leave the venue because they still wanted to enjoy some real good reggae dancehall vibes were served by the Far West Crew.

Overall Beenie Man's set had more than enough high points, but also a few weak parts. A minus was the fact that the sound engineer didn't manage to get a well balanced sound between the instruments of the musicians. Also the sound of Beenie Man's microphone was too loud, which made it all real annoying. One thing, apart from the music, that deserves to be mentioned is the opportunity to get some real tasty original Jamaican food at a reasonable price (provided by Runn Catering) in the room next to the main stage. Do check it out when you go to one of the upcoming reggae shows at the Petrol Club!!
Text : Mr. T & Photos : Teacher