Words by Stevenson Benoit
The 20th anniversary of ‘DOH CRY AH LEAVIN’ (commonly known as DCAL) and a farewell to Toronto’s number one club for soca events, the Kool Haus occurred at the end of January. This year’s line up hosted numerous musical guests including a pre-Carnival showing by acclaimed Kes The Band, a sick steel pan performance by Earl La Pierre, the Eman of the Kingdom of Soca family, who had the audience celebrating, and of course the whole KOS DJs who ‘mashed up di place’ with all the soca hits. But that is just the beginning. DCAL XX sold out six weeks prior to the concert, possibly a record for Toronto. WIth the increasingly high demand, a second date was added to the calendar. Indeed the largest fête just got even larger and was a great sending off to both the Kool Haus and those going back home to Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival!
From the moment you walked into the building you could feel the electricity, the crowd was ready to pump. It was packed for both nights (Jan. 30th & 31st); Friday to maximum capacity and with the additional Saturday show, a fair amount of soca heads were in the building, and the energy was intense. Revelers who missed Friday’s DCAL were ultra ecstatic for the second performance. In the words of Dr. Jay, “Just Smile Nuh!” The structural layout of the Kool Haus was just perfect for the fête with easy parking available all around, one of the things that will be sorely missed about the venue. The DCAL crowd, dressed ready to fête, were even dressed in parts of previous carnival costumes. On Friday, Toronto’s very own Kardinal Offishall was even spotted in the crowd enjoying himself.
Kes The Band took the stage at around 1 am and the band’s vibe was intense. Kees performed all his chart-topping hits from today including Fallin’, General Don, and Million and had everyone wining like no tomorrow. He brought out the magic of carnival in all the songs and the ladies loved Kees. Many pushed their way to the front with the hopes of getting on stage to wine on one of the most desired soca artists in the world. On both nights, the great vibes ended before anyone was ready to go. DCAL infused all kinds of Soca powers from the time you walked in until the time you walked out. Guests exclaimed that they were definitely more excited to “go home for Carnival now”. Expectedly, quite a few people went and bought tickets for T&T Carnival after seeing both performances.
Dr. Jay de Soca Prince of (KOS) events provided great service, from distributing zip lock bags to protect your cell phones, to mixtapes of new tunes as well as horns for the party-goers to get in on the action. Soca t-shirts were on sale for patrons entering and leaving the party, which also included “Tuesday on the Rocks” t-shirts for the band’s 10th anniversary concert scheduled for the 10th of February in Trinidad and Tobago.
The 20th DCAL anniversary definitely was not a fête to be missed and was a righteous end to the Kool Haus chapter. Big ups to Dr. Jay and KOS for delivering fantastic celebrations and to Kes The Band for back to back nights of amazing performances and sharing the Carnival 2015 vibes with Toronto!