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Fire Links ignites Sound Explosion

Fire Links was arguably the best crowd-pleaser at the inaugural staging of Sumfest's Sound Explosion on Thursday night.

Hundreds of music fans had descended on the lawn of Pier One in Montego Bay, St James, as the island's top selectors showed off their dancehall and reggae collection to a sea of local and foreign party rockers.

In addition to Fire Links who rocked the crowd, Tony Matterhorn and Pieces gave stellar performances.

'Sumfesters' were in full party mode as they trickled in during the early stages on the third night of the world-renowned music festival.

By midnight, the venue was abuzz with excitement, and all heads turned to centre stage as the life of the party - the sound system selectors - were ready to get the crowd in a raving mood.

After a thrilling warm-up by Ikel Marvelus and Flabba Dabba (Team Shella), the headlining selectors were each given a 30-minute spotlight to perform before returning later in the night for an encore.

The 30-plus-year veteran selector Sky Juice and the Metromedia kicked off the show with some gospel before mixing in some timeless reggae hits, including Buju Banton's Destiny.

Black Kat and Stone Love touched the hearts of fans by juggling some of the best reggae hits.

But although partygoers left the venue in a dancing mood as the clocked approached 4 a.m., some were a little disappointed that the event did not feature a clash among the sound systems.

"In the latter part of the show, I expected that the top two sounds would clash, but overall it was a well-put-together quality event that was definitely worth the money," said one patron, Terrain 'Fusion' Williams.


KINGSTON, Jamaica— For DJ Fire Biggs of sound system Fire Explosion, making it to the finals of the Guinness Sounds of Greatness clash competition this year is due in large part to a personal philosophy.

“I tell myself that the real competition is to be better today than I was yesterday,” said Fire Biggs, whose real name is Akeem Ranglin.

Fire Biggs is known in dancehall circles but the DJ says it will be his skill and musical talent that will outdo DJ Naz in the GSOG finals set to air tonight on TVJ.

“It is an overwhelming feeling to make it to the finals, it shows that hard work really pays off,” said Fire Biggs. Noting that his love of music kick started his career in the entertainment industry in 2006, the DJ declared that he had always had a special love and passion for the business.

“The name Fire Biggs came about because I once saw Fire Links, which was one of the best sound systems back in the day in my community and I was amazed by their talent. I decided to write Fire Links on my sound system. A few days later, someone saw Fire Links on my speaker box and told me that 'Fire Biggs' should be my name because of my size,” he recalled.

This is not Fire Biggs' first time as a GSOG contestant. The selector competed with Real Money on numerous occasions and won with that team in 2019. He later entered the competition independently with his own sound system called Fire Explosion.

Even though he will be facing DJ Naz in the finals, he asserts that he has nothing but respect for the lone female in the competition, and views the clash as an opportunity to just have fun and put on a show. “Guinness Sounds of Greatness is one of the best competitions and has allowed me to get exposure especially during this trying time. I want to thank Guinness for the opportunity.”

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Fire Links Rules Sound System Festival 2017

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It is difficult to accept that sound-system culture in Jamaica is fading when the patrons filled the field of Grizzly's Plantation last Saturday night at Bass Odyssey Presents Jamaica Sound System Festival 2017.

The event went off with scarcely a hitch, and in the end, the cue for all to leave was met with a collective groan of disappointment.

Invited to perform alongside Bass Odyssey (celebrating its 28th anniversary) were Stone Love, King Addies (New York), the newly launched Fire Sound by Firelinks, and Coppershot.

"People come just to see the sound stringing up," organiser Yanique Walford told THE STAR.

And she was right.

Fire Sound turned up at the venue at approximately

8 p.m., and after the up-and-coming Wizard International, and Stone Love got the crowd moving, Fire Sound was still stacking boxes and running lines to generators.

Many patrons stood as though transfixed - watching the speakers go up - as the rest streamed in, in steady succession. By 1 a.m., it was squeeze room only between the bar and the stage as Reality, the MC for Israeli sound system A-mar, bolstered the crowd, dropping dubplates from artistes such as Jr Gong and Sizzla.

Despite recent complaints about foreign sound systems paying off crowds or over-censorship in major sponsored sound clashes, patrons from near and far gathered before booming, bass-heavy speakers to enjoy high-energy, half-hour sets.

Regardless of their foreign flair (which was evident only in a moderately disguised accent), the Israelis were not the highlight of the event.

Seasoned in clashes, late on the scene, and armed with a system set not yet one year old, Fire Sound by Fire Links had the crowd's torches ablaze until the 4 a.m.-sharp cut-off.


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