Seventeen Plus, Burning Flames, Red Hot, for Independence

Clarence ‘Sir Oungku’ Edwards

Remember the young group of guys who sang “Mary, Mary jumping up,” back in the eighties? They called themselves Seventeen Plus and they formed part of the soca revolution which saw a transformation of the genre of music to more accelerated beats infused with French rhythms.

Creating these arrangements – which drew younger crowds in hordes – were groups like Imagination Brass, Jam Band, Crush, and the band many would credit with spearheading it all – Burning Flames.

Well, come Independence weekend, the legendary Virgin Islands’ band Seventeen Plus is to join Burning Flames and Red Hot for a show that’s bound for a trip down memory lane. It’s being presented under the banner of Bandsmen United and set for Thursday, October 31, at Yasco Grounds which has become Red Hot’s Robot City for this year.

Of preparations, chief organiser Clarence “Sir Oungku” Edwards said, “Everything is going fine. The buzz is out there; the people are ready, and the bands are ready.”

He added, “It’s not really a stand-up-and-watch-stage type of show. It will be a come-and-dance-all-night-to-great-music kind of set up. We’re looking for a good turnout…”

It will be the first in a long time Burning Flames and Red Hot will be performing on the same show in Antigua. But for the million-dollar question, the one that’s been lingering on the minds Flames fans: Will the original “Fantastic Four” take to the stage together and create that musical synergy that changed soca music in the country?

When put to Sir Oungku, he opted to leave everyone in suspense.

What he did say was that they’re operating under Bandsmen United.

“It’s simply saying that sometimes I like to build things and create things on my own and I’m very much in tune with this and working with the other bandsmen, we could create something where we don’t have to have a promoter to hire us ’cause this is what happens; the promoters hire the bands and the artistes.”

Sir Oungku, though, said that if bands could work together they could put on the shows for themselves because they are the ones who are bringing the people.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to the aristes to draw (the crowds),” he said. “So if we can come together with some help and guidance from some people outside, we could do this and (it could probably go) over into Carnival and beyond. Once this kicks off good and everything is smooth, the sky is the limit for Bandsmen United.”

Tickets to the Independence Thursday event are $30 in advance and more at the door. They can be obtained at Super Power Electronics and Townhouse Mega Store.

Sir Oungku noted that for the first time in this type of jam session, there’ll be a VIP section where, the party people pay more to gain access to service on a whole other level. Such tickets are $100 a pop.