By Stephen Weir
The 2018 Toronto carnival band launching season ended last Saturday evening at the Rebel nightclub when Atlantic Mas’ held the eleventh – and final – costume show.
Onstage was Machel Montano, the king of soca, telling Torontonians to go down the road with him on August 4th.
“Get your costume from Atlantic Mas’ and join me as we party till 6 a.m.” the Trinidadian singer told the estimated audience of 1,000-plus at the high-energy launch.
The world’s most recognizable Soca performer had jetted in from New York City on the weekend to perform at the launch and introduce his own Atlantic Mas’ section.
“I am going to be on the (Atlantic Mas’) truck! And after the parade, we party,” he said.
Before leaving the stage, Montano brought on two well-known Sikh politicians – Gurratan Singh, the NDP candidate in the provincial riding of Brampton East and his brother Jagmeet Singh the federal NDP party leader. They didn’t talk politics and elections. Instead they got a dance lesson and a hug from Montano.
Montano’s appearance at the launch capped off what was a delayed costume show. The afternoon start time was pushed back to the early evening because of Montano’s delayed arrival
But the wait didn’t bother the revellers at the nightclub. They sang. They danced. They called out Machel’s name.
They made waiting a fun event in itself.
Bandleader Akil Heywood said “we called the launch an ‘Invitation to Dance’ with a theme we call Semba.”
On display at the show were the costumes which the players in the band will be wearing in the Toronto Caribbean Carnival grand parade this August 4th along Lakeshore Blvd.
Atlantic Mas, now in its third year went with a minimalist designs for backline costumes, perky frontline outfits and, of strip-down outfits for the men.
There were well rehearsed models in the nine sections on the large, well-lit stage. Many of the models closed the show with flips, splits and amazing dance moves.
Atlantic Mas’ expects that Montano’s participation will help them sell 1,000 costumes and vault them into the elite group of large competing bands at this year’s parade.