Impressions: Sister Nancy & Friends at Brooklyn Bowl

Words by LargeUp Crew
Photos by Dutty Vannier

Sister Nancy celebrated 35 years of  “Bam Bam” with a cast of dancehall all-stars at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl Thursday night. The sold-out Sister Nancy + Friends show, presented by LargeUp and Blackwell Rum, was Nancy’s first-ever headlining appearance in NYC, believe it or not, and dancehall’s Original Mumma ran through her hits in fine style. But not before the stage was set by DJs Queen Majesty and Max Glazer, Orijahnal Vibez and DJ Gravy of the Rice and Peas crew; the Dollar Van band; host Ras Kush of Black Redemption Sound; and sets by guest performers Screechy Dan, Red Fox, Nardo Ranks and Yami Bolo. Everything moved organically, in true dancehall style, with many of the artists performing quick sets only to reappear later, keeping the momentum going at all times.

Revisit all the action in this photo series and look out for the video wrap-up coming soon.

The show was the first in a new series of events at Brooklyn Bowl presented by LargeUp and Blackwell Rum. Stay tuned!

Early arrivals enjoying a few drinks in the Brooklyn Bowl bar area.

Queen Majesty warmed up the crowd with her all-vinyl selections.

Fresh off tour with Chronixx, here’s DJ Max Glazer, representing for Federation Sound and the Rice and Peas crew.

Yami Bolo, enjoying the moment backstage before the show.

Sister Nancy, conversing with friends backstage before her set. Attendees at the show include a number off Nancy’s peers from the ’80s dancehall scene including Carlton Livingston and Lady Ann.

Guitarist Natty Frenchy tuning up before the show.

DJ Gravy, reviewing the run of show with host Ras Kush.

Orijahnal Vibez from the Rice and Peas crew hyping up the sold-out crowd.

Ras Kush, in a moment of contemplation.

The drinks are flowing, and the crowd is getting loose, in anticipation of Mumma Nancy.

Yami Bolo greets his bredrin Andre Keise backstage.

Ras Kush announcing the first act of the night, the Dollar Van band, who backed all of the night’s performers.

Bassist Sean Lewis steps up to the mic. Ahead of the main performances, Dollar Van warmed up the crowd with an instrumental version of Grace Jones’ “Nightclubbing”.

Pose Off! Inna yuh pum pum shats! Dynamic duo Screechy Dan and Red Fox deliver their signature tune.

Screechy Dan’s cover of Hank Williams’ yodeling country classic “Lonesome Blues” is a highlight of any show where Screechy appears.

Red Fox holds his mic up to the crowd during a performance of “Bashment Party” with the versatile Screechy Dan filling in for the role of Rayvon.

Na-na-na-na-Nardo! Original NYC dancehall don Nardo Ranks steps to the mic for a medley of ’90s classics.

Dis ah one ah dem original! Nardo Ranks explains the meaning of “Burrup.”

Yami Bolo unleashes his golden voice on the crowd. The first of two mini-sets from Yami featured, among other songs, a cover of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita.” 

Nancy’s time now….Mumma Nancy takes the stage, to the sounds of “One, Two.”

Nancy preempted her performance of her big tune with an unexpected shout-out: “Out of the top 50 dancehall songs of all time, ‘Bam Bam’ is Number One! I didn’t say that… Pitchfork say that.”

Sister Nancy’s long-time friend Kowskin, going the extra mile to get that shot.

Yami Bolo adds a little melodica to the proceedings, after sharing the stage with Nancy during a Stalag riddim medley. The two artists’ respective signature songs, “Bam Bam” and “When A Man’s In Love,” are versions on the classic riddim produced by Winston Riley

“The First Woman D.J. With Degree” is a product of original Jamaican sound system culture, so she’s not gonna give you a vanilla set full of faithful renditions — she’s going to deejay. That meant ‘dubplate’ versions of her songs with call-outs to the various DJs and selectors in attendance.

One more time for Yami Bolo!

Yami Bolo, Screechy Dan, Sister Nancy and Nardo Ranks catching up backstage after the show.