Super Cat’s return, at the upscale Club Zanzibar on the Waterfront in Washington DC along with Jr Demus and surprise guest Shabba Ranks was old school affair filled with sheer excitement. Following Merritone disco Friday night before, Jr Demus, Derrick Barnett and the City Heat band got the ball rolling. Demus, aka the Ruff Neck Chicken was in rare comedic form. Between his spastic, herky jerky body contortion and his well timed punctuated lyrical collage, Demus’ all too short set was an ideal set up for Super Cat. The mostly over thirty five crowd though was the mood for a main course, now if you please. Great artist never die or fade away, ambition, as William Shakespeare said is made of sterner stuff and when greatness is combined with super talent it can be devastating. So was Super Cat.
Super Cat, strode on stage out spit firing “watch out mek wi come down …whey den ah go do when general eh eh”, other Dj’s ago hole a mike an Sid-dung.” Immaculately dressed in full white regalia; linen suit, white felt and head band, and as one lady noted “ he is till fine, if the dance 80’s crowd wondered what happen to the Don Dada during his long hiatus, they need not have worried, he hasn’t lost a beat. From the first note it was evident that the swagger was still there and he was in no mood to play. With his emphasis on super cool, the Cat blazed the stage as the fiery frenzy packed house at Zanzibar on the DC Waterfront erupted. A superb word, a master at his craft, Cat’s lyrical style was caustic, sardonic and witty, his comedic humor was dry, deadpan and intelligent, and his confidence was ever so high.
With his emphasis on educating and entertaining and his knowledge of history and mob chronicles there’s no other dj in dancehall so devastating or has as incisive as Mr. Maragh, the Wild Apache. He spat biting social commentary; cough up witty repartee and ironic logic for his entire set. In between songs his broadsides against racism, mongrelism, dancehall DJ’s silly obsession with battymanism and Bushism kept the crowd amused while his lyrical style enthralled and captivated them. His reference to Moses and the burning bush and its analogy to President Bush had the crowd roaring. Cat decried the homophobic DJs, saying “what a man want to do in the privacy of his bedroom-read life- is his business”, no trivia please. When he launched into ‘Cry Fi the Yute’ we could too, because Jamaica’s’ high murder rate was never far as sober reminder. But it was a time for partying, the Wild Apache reeled off a slew of memorable hits; ‘Boops, ‘Sweet for my sweet, ‘Dem nuh worry we’ ‘Animal Party” ‘Riding West’’ ‘Scalp Dem’ and ‘Ram it up.’
I heard the Don Dada Cat was in foul mood as he blew off MTV’s request (major media attention was in the house to cover the show, yes, Cat still commands their attention) for an interview. If Mr. Shakespeare is right and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then when Cat said in praise of his defacto protégé Sean Paul, “we build champion, we don’t kill champion” the lady next to me shouted “big respect, but him a yu student, Cat smiled and showed his maturity. Then came ‘Dolly my Baby’ and ‘Mud up’ we thought the night was over until Cat shouted’ “Ralston Fernando Rexton Gordon where are you, a ’ear say, yu inna de place, come eeen.” When Shabba Ranks hit the stage it was pandemonium as part two ensued. Jr Demus then joined the free for all.
Even after more than a decade without a hit song, Super Cat can still marshal his lyrical whip, like a reservoir full in drought, he has an abundant supply of intelligent lyrics and he is still one of reggae/dancehall’s most devastating live performers.