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Monday, March 14, 2011

TRIBE Way of the Warrior Review #5

COSTUME COLLECTION - D
My assigned day for collection was the Wednesday before Carnival. However at about lunch time on Wednesday I received a call from TRIBE personnel indicating that my costume was not ready due to production issues and would be ready for collection on either Friday or Saturday. On Friday, at lunch time I had received no call or message about my costume and all calls to the camp went unanswered. A friend of mine had to go down to the camp and I had to speak to the personnel on her phone at which time they indicated that yes, my costume was infact ready. If I didn’t pursue the matter, my FL money would probably have been jumping up.

The process was easy, since I was Fast Track and I spent about 20 minutes to collect everything. Although the contents of my box were reviewed and I consider myself to be a pretty seasoned masquerader having played mas for the last 6 years, I realized after I left Cascadia that there was no belt in my box. I could accept blame for this since to some extent I didn’t pay full attention. However, on calling the customer service hotline, to ask that a belt be reserved for me, in my size for collection on Saturday, I was told that this was not possible, and I would have to come in and they would give me what’s available and adjust it to suit.

On Saturday I returned to Cascadia and there were numerous people waiting for alterations along with sponsors awaiting unsold costumes. The security guard was speaking to us through a cracked door and didn’t want to allow us inside. It was only after we began to cause a stir, that we were let in to the customer service area.
I was able to get my belt in the correct size from the customer service attendants.

FOOD - D
In comparison to last year, the vegetarian option wasn’t that great. Vegetarian does not mean tasteless. The quantity was sufficient and on both days we were served lollies. Breakfast was good and we were able to choose what we wanted from the carts. The evening snack however was horrible, since I suspect that the buljol and bake that was used from the breakfast was given to masqueraders at dinner since the onions had begun to turn. Needless to say I didn’t eat it.

COSTUME QUALITY- A
My costume held up very well on the road unlike many others. Everything was well made and neat. Kudos to the designer of Mongol Fighter. I’ve had bikini bottom issues in the past, and the change in the type used was a plus.

CROSSING THE STAGE-D
I always thought that being frontline meant that one got to cross the stage ahead of the rest. My section was a total mess to cross the stage. The individual was jumbled with the backliners and the frontliners all in between. Better organization needs to happen next year since I’m sure that the other frontline persons like myself were upset that they didn’t get their time to shine.

All in all, this being the 4th year that I have played with TRIBE; I can compare it to years gone by and it in no way compares. This year I got the least value for my money. I hope that TRIBE personnel see this and fix these issues so that we could truly receive the ultimate carnival experience.

TRIBE Way of the Warrior Review #4

Hi hi! Just wanted to submit my two cents on the Tribe “Ultimate Carnival Experience”. P.S. I think that slogan needs to be re-worded.

As a child I played mas every single year without fail, however as I got older my priorities shifted – school, work, residing in Jamaica – but for 2K11, I promised myself that I absolutely have to partake in my country’s festivities; the cultural experience that helped shaped the person I am today.

I am going to make my comments short and sweet.

Section: Gladiator in Tribe

1) Customer Service

First impressions are lasting impressions. I am a first time Tribe player and I can safely say you get an EPIC FAIL in the customer service department. Overall customer service is poor however, there were few individuals on your team that helped you save face.


2) Costume

Well I was worried about my bra fit – I wear a 36/38DDD cup. When I tried it on for the first time the cup size was on point, however the underwire slipped out and the straps were ridiculously thin for someone wearing such a large sized cup. A friend of mine in the same section wore a smaller cup and had thicker straps – anyone see something wrong with that? I am now nursing scars from the straps digging into my shoulder. Not to mention the beading started to fall off and stuff began to unstick before Carnival Monday and Tuesday were anywhere near in sight. Thank God for a glue gun yes!

I always thought Tribe did the belt according to your exact measurements but this time my particular section ran with the S, M, L, XL. The belt I got initially was too small and all the beading started to fall off as I tried it on, while I was still at Cascadia during collection. I received a bigger size, it fit, but again the beading started to fall off.

The headpiece....I threw that sh*t away soon after I received it. I had the regular headpiece. Why? ..because my original order for the large headpiece was not entered into the registration system and by the time I realized, it was too late for the change to be made.. no love lost though... HOWEVER that regular headpiece was an embarrassment, and I don’t know why they even bothered to make it. It broke the first time I tried it on, then most, if not all of the gems on the replacement fell off.

3) On the road

On Monday food ran out, how is that possible? Don’t you cater to your specific demand? I refused to buy food anywhere on the road because I spent WAY TOO MUCH MONEY to have to spend more. Drinks were flowing on both days, but I think the bar staff needed to be a bit more attentive to the masqueraders. Sometimes it seemed as if they were tired of having to serve drinks... that is your job isn’t it? There were also way too many stormers; if I was head of security, most of alyuh loss alyuh wuk. It seemed as if every Jack and their mother was up inside there! And why pray tell were Bliss Masqueraders in Tribe. You all wanted the Bliss exclusive experience correct?

All in all the experience was interesting. Will I play in Tribe next year? Not sure, I didn’t get the feeling that they valued me as a customer. It was more like a “yuh lucky yuh get in d band” kind of feeling.

My advice to Tribe is to come off that high horse alyuh “dey pon” and do what you promise your patrons; deliver on “the ultimate carnival experience”.


KAC

Brian Mac Farlane Carnival 2011 Review #2

I arrived in Trinidad on Carnival Friday about 4:30 PM, got something to eat and headed to Mac Farlanes camp to collect my costume. Everything went well, the staff was friendly and helpful, no crowd maybe two people ahead of me. My top needed adjusting and that took a little time and the staff came out to reassure me that they were working on it. It didn't take much time and I was out of there in about 45 minutes. I paid on line through Moneygram and they had change for me due to the exchange rate.

Carnival Monday ...got there on time and the band was pulling out..got my paint applied by some very happy masqueraders and the party was on...I had a good time...got to Independence Square and all was well...found myself in the back of the band with the Laventille Rhythm Section having a ball..

Got to Frederick Street ...near Woodford Square probably around two...WTH! And things just went slow from there did not cross the stage till about 7pm. The stage was a blast.

Carnival Tuesday...met the band around ten and milled around adjusting my costume...took pictures etc...not sure what time we pulled out but it seemed like there was a bit of a wait. Nice flow..nice crowd...nice music...a little bottleneck just before competition downtown...then smooth sailing until we got to the sticking point on Frederick Street...slooow like molasses till we got to the stage that I crossed at around nine. I left the band right after we crossed the stage on both days as my people were waiting for me in the north stands.

As for services...Food...NONE..but we knew ahead of time because they only gave out drink chits...so I purchased my own..I'm not a big eater and did have a plate of pelau with sorrel etc before I left home on Tuesday, and made sure to have a good breakfast on Monday...so some boil corn near Aripita Avenue and wantons from I believe the Chinese restaurant on Frederick street was all I needed. They should have provided masqueraders with snacks..a lil allo pie and doubles ..you know some finger food to keep us going. About five pm on Tuesday they were passing out plantain chips......some people did not want to buy food on the road so I guess they took the chips. For the standard of costume etc Mac Farlane could have done better with the food situation...

MUSIC...the DJs were goood...Roy Cape and dem was a little too much for me I didn't want to hear Iwer crossing nobody stage, so I was glad that the DJ trucks accompanied me across the different competition venues.

SECURITY...where were they by that bottleneck by Memorial Park when the lil goontas in training tried to wine on me..I had to get myself out of that one alone.

DRINKS...what the de hell was that black forest beer ...now they were only serving juices, water and beer...the beer was Carib and Stag and then bout four o clock this strange beer appeared...I kept goin to the trucks and asking for a stag...and they told me there was none but I watchin cases of Carib and Stag on the truck and they passing them beers to other people...so it seems like there was some kind of "VIP" service for beers of which most of us common masqueraders were not a part of. So I just spent my money on the road to buy the beer I wanted.

Mac Farlane definitely has to do better with food and drinks. I don't care for hard liquor and a big set of food, it could be kept simple to keep down costs but the masqueraders deserve more. We gave out best as far as patience and presentation on the road and deserved a better. I did enjoy myself because I was determined to and did not let those things get in the way of my enjoyment. Oh and let me add...there were no pee pee trucks..I was okay with that I used the facilities at Woodford Square which was kept very clean. I noticed that the workers on duty there would clean the johns as soon as it was used.

I did enjoy myself a lot. Got a lot of feedback from spectators who enjoyed the band, had a lot of pictures taken on the road and the vibe was really nice. I hope that Mac Farlane makes the needed adjustments but all in all I had a good time, and was proud of my costume that held up on the road. The staff were continually seen throughout the band assisting masqueraders and adjusting costumes...nice touch. Again I was proud to be part of that production but they need to take a little more care with their masqueraders when it comes to the amenities.

Pulse 8 2011 Review #2

First off THANK YOU SAUCY SOOOOO VERY MUCH for all of your valuable time and info leading up to the Carnival Season!!!! The information you supply is very much appreciated, especially the band launches, fete calendar and makeup/accessory/styling vendors you give us access to.

After a long absence from playing mas ( last time was Poison)....I joined some friends and played with Pulse8...Naughty Nymph. The costumes were well made, not a bead fell off, although I think ALL but 1 of the headpieces of my group came apart Tuesday, I know mine was from abuse, but I also think inferior gluing may also be to blame. The pickup was a breeze, but then again my friends have played with them previously, a few live in T&T, and they seem to have a working relationship with one of the designers, so that maybe the reason. I was able to exchange my boy-shorts for a smaller size without a fuss, and quite possibly if I tried on the belt could have exchanged it for a smaller size also.

Monday
We headed straight to the Savannah, from what I understand this was the 1st yr the band crossed the stage, after being upstaged (no pun) by larger bands in the past. Crossing was great especially to ADVANTAGE!!! Cant say I missed de stage as ah done say when was de last time ah play mas. BUT ah still stamp on it, jump on it, and ramfle it!!

SECURITY......ON POINT!!! Some ah de hardest working eva!!! They really deserve a special " THANKS" cause I am a wayward masquerader and must have come in and out more times than I can count.

DRINKS TRUCK........well I was "forced" to drink Johnnie since Smirnoff is not how I spell vodka....& since I saw they had Johnnie Red and Black I made sure and requested BLACK at every fill up & watched to assure........with that said that man walked in my cup with coconut water all day, there was no wait, no fuss & they were very courteous.

LUNCH.........hmm well ammmm lets just say thank goodness for ketchup and pepper and even then it just had no taste. I thought it was just me, but then I overheard others complaining that it needed salt....personally some Maggi, any flavor would have brighten the entire pot!

MUSIC........not sure how many trucks there were, but the 2 I heard had me whinning in de middle ah de road and gettin on wotless all Monday

Tuesday
Well I did done know from jump I wasn't meeting de band at de Oval for 6:30 am and it was a HIGH possibility I was not crossing de stage, so after dressing and applying my Exotic Eyes makeup ( thanks again ) I decided to get my headpiece and head town, that's when I heard on TV Pulse8 is getting ready to cross the stage, so I stayed and watched them....was very happy for the band leaders and the loyal masqueraders who very much took ADVANTAGE of the stage. I met them later on Tagarete

SECURITY......same if even not better than above

DRINKS.........Johnnie Black walked and walked and walked and walked........along with coconut water ALL DAY.

LUNCH....after walking thru a square and some people beginning to get comfortable, we were told "dias not we square" a little walk later we bounce up on we square. NOW I don't know what I was expecting, but some or any kind of accommodations would have been appreciated. Thank goodness for all the rags we accumulated throughout the road, we had somewhere to park we ass. I didn't think the FOOD could have been worse than Monday, but it WAS!!!. I ended up buying something on the road which was both tasteful and fulfilling, plus I needed something to cushion Johnnie's impact.

MUSIC...........not sure what happened between Monday and Tuesday. Everything was going good, but then as the situation called for keeping us vibed and pumped there was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much TALKING!!!!! on the lead truck. Now I take full blame for this as I could have very well moved to the back, but chose to stay put...........but still OGAWD.......too much CHAT!!!

ALL in all I had a GREAT time.....for me playing mas is about being on de road with your friends, drinking, de sun beatin yuh like yuh runway from de plantation, somebody theifin ah wine on yuh and you theifin a wine ............ALL and more was accomplished so YES I well enjoyed myself, and grade my experience a B+

I wish I cud say an astounding YES I will play with Pulse8 in the future, only time will tell. They are a young medium band, this being there 5th yr I can only hope the hiccups, I and any other masquerader had will be worked out in the future and Pulse8 will continue to prosper for many Carnival seasons to come.

Caesar's Army A.M. Bush Review

When I first decided to go AM BUSH it was partly because I was supporting my significant other and partly because I was intrigued by the idea of J'ouvert on a Saturday morning: no having to rush to leave J'ouvert early and shower outside and get ready for Monday Mas, no having to be tired on Monday and not getting the full Monday mas experience (which I find is often better than Tuesday) cause you've been feting since 3am. I for one have also been quite against doing J'ouvert on any other day but Carnival Monday so I was really going into this thing with some preset ideas in my mind. In spite of that I was really looking forward to see if Caesar's Army could have delivered on this event, especially since their Pan side was a bess lime. My friend and I hit Blue Range Cooler fete before heading off on Carni Saturday morning to Chaguaramas for AM BUSH. It was a breeze to drive down there and we found the car park quite easily, which was in Samaan Park. We probably got there around 4:45am and waited a while for the shuttle to take us to the venue. I quite liked that they were starting us off at a point further away and making their way back to the car park, so you just had to jump into your car at the end of it all. I made sure to bring lots of OFF with me since I know how vicious the bugs are in Chaguaramas, fortunately we escaped without a bite and lots of vibes to take us home.

There were two shuttles to take us to the starting point, as the larger maxis couldn't drive down the narrow roadway to our secluded starting spot. My friend and I ended up walking the short distance from the main roadway into where the music truck was parked once the first maxi dropped us off, and I'm kinda glad that we did because the sight that greeted us was so amazing I had goosebumps! Picture all these bamboo fronds making a dark canopy over your head, a narrow roadway paving the way, the dim dawn light filtering down mixed in with flood lights, a music truck pumping out all the J'ouvert soca you love and a riddem section plus about 200 people or so getting into the vibes. It was like a scene outta a music video :) Drinks were flowing freely from the drinks truck, we had Rum, Vodka, shots of Jager and Punchy Punch, beers, Red Bull, Powerade and Water. The paint truck was already stationed behind the music truck and a Blue Devil on the paint truck was handing out bottles of paint to all of us to start messing each other down. I actually went back to our car and returned 20mins later and the transformation from utterly clean to totally painted down was unbelievable! Guys on C.A's committee also had water guns filled with paint which they were attacking everyone with and that just increased the vibe. As the sun started to come up the music truck moved off and we began our trek back down to Samaan Park.

Although the group was relatively small everyone was having a time, wining, chipping down de road and dirtying up each other with paint. We were an eager mess of blue, green and black and it was like we were all in our own little world, with the occasional car or cyclist passing us once we got out onto the main road. The people passing us probably wondered what the hell was going on with this random assortment in J'ouvert paint on a Saturday! But it was all great :) The distance we partied between our starting point and Samaan Park was just right and as it got later in the morning the water truck started up their hoses to wet down those that wanted to get even more soaked. Although I didn't want to get wet and successfully managed to avoid the hoses, I thought it was a good idea as something about water and feting just brings out the best vibes in people. The paint never ran out either and people kept messing you up as you passed them even though we were all already covered from head to toe! I felt sorry for whoever didn't want to get dirty that morning cause is dem self who were getting de most paint! The breakfast truck that drove along with us served ham and hops or bake and buljol, and once we got back to Samaan Park there was also a doubles man serving piping hot yummy doubles! There was even a surprise waiting for us back at the cars, as C.A. had a full riddem section, complete with brass, big drums and a singer to play for us while we finished off the partying and people washed themselves off a bit in the water truck's hose. C.A. eventually had to stop everything at around 9:30am as they only had the area until a certain time, but from the way everyone was feting I'm pretty sure we'd have gone on for much longer if we could. The only major hiccup they had was that there were no mobile bathrooms moving along with the band, so if you had to go, you had to do it as nature intended!

All in all my friends and I had a fantastic time. One of them who hasn't played mas in 10 years even got a mas bug and was asking us to look for a costume for him! It was strange but great at the same time knowing I still had all of Saturday to relax after J'ouvert, plus I had the knowledge that my Carnival weekend was really only just kicking off and I still had two days of mas to look forward to! I'll definitely be supporting this event again once they do it next year. Sorry I don't have any pics to share cause I didn't want to take my camera but you can check some of them out at Caesar's Army's facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150116867356721&set=a.10150111102226721.275956.521276720&ref=nf#!/caesarsarmy1


Next review will be on SSU, as it's the first time I did a breakfast party other than Vale....

Bliss Review # 3

I have been a loyal Tribe masquerader since its inception but like many, found that the band was getting ridiculously bigger every year and movement was a problem, so when Tribe management announced that Bliss was being formed, I was extremely excited. Turns out, at the time of registration, I was ill and had to turn my thoughts to my health and other family crises happening.

Once all was resolved, I decided my best bet was to purchase a costume in my size from another masquerader. Transactions went smoothly and all was great but not without a few hiccups which I will talk about later.

Costume Collection
One word, FLAWLESS. Kudos here as we were in and out within 10 minutes flat and we did NOT pay off the costume (because we couldn't). I was very impressed.

Costume
Costume was beautiful with brilliant colours but jewels kept falling off. I was armed with a glue gun so not a big problem. I also must note that Pele's jewels had some extremely sharp edges which shredded (for many who played in this section) stockings to bits. My stockings were full of holes before I even left the hotel room. and many others who played in the section had to remove their stockings during lunch stop. The claws that held the jewels were also sharp and after a few hours I found my arm bleeding...yes, bleeding profusely from cuts. Of course, I was busy having fun and did not notice until I started walking. I had to put a towel on my waistband to prevent further harm.

Bliss, please remember to test for sharp edges in future.

Another problem with the design was that the halter style was not for heavier bustlines. We D and DD cup ladies need better support. You cannot design a costume and offer it to ALL if you cannot "tweak" a little for larger cups. I saw many women's boobs falling through. I for one, had to stitch a purchased monokini to the bra so my "girls' would have something to fall back on when they decide to peep out. Thank goodness I did. This cost me an additional $300TT but a small price for comfort and "safety".

Another issue with Pele was how it was marketed. Many of the masqueraders were under the impression that the headpiece came with the costume. It was advertised that a "large headpiece" was to be purchased for an additional amount and no where did it say that the backline costume came with a headband only. Quite a few people I spoke to in the section thought there was a smaller version of the headpiece and the additional fee was for a larger headpiece. Please clarify what comes with the costume on the website in future as this was most disappointing to those who love wearing headpieces.

My sister (who had a few issues with the headpiece and bra) and I took our costumes back to Carlton Savannah for adjustments on Sunday before Carnival. The ladies there were kind, patient and ready and willing to help in any way they could. We got what we needed done and went on our merry way. Thank you, that made a world of difference and meant a lot to us.

Road experience
Shuttle on Monday dropped us so far away from the band, it was almost pointless having a shuttle. However, once we got to the band all was well. Food ran out a little early on Monday but all is forgiven. I was a little tipsy but I was sure the chicken was from Popeye's on Tuesday. I liked the vibe and the space...ahhhh...you could breathe and have a little space to jump up. Bar service was great, but I was almost sure I was getting plain water in my drinks instead of coconut water. No Hennessy either...shocking! That did not stop me from enjoying myself. Nothing stops that. People called it the stush band, no way, everyone was friendly and enjoying themselves, some were a little reserved and some were buck wild, but that is true for just about any band you play with.

All in all, Bliss, great work for first year. Except for the minor hiccups, you did wonderfully. A definite A- for me. God willing, I will be back next year.

Bliss Review # 2

Saucy , i see you were the only one to put a review of Bliss, so here's my 2c on it, from a male perspective!

Friends of mine in Tribe were a bit disappointed in my choice this year, but it's gonna be Bliss again next year. DEFINITELY! They stood by their word and provided the Tribe experience in a much more intimate setting!
(I'm going to abuse exclamation marks here, but just can't help it)

Service
Excellent service all-round. Costume collection was a breeze on Sunday (less than 20 mins...I mean, come on!) Friday on the other hand was a zoo, but that's to be expected. At least the venue was awesome! Email response was same day (wow!) and was even followed up with phone calls (double wow!) to alert about any possible delays with costume collection and registration. Smiles all around and generally approachable persons in all sections of officials from registration to las lap.

Costumes
This was the first time that i felt that we got some quality and thought into the guys costumes. Pelé was simple, but effective. Everything moved well and stayed well into Tuesday. It was also strange to see that most guys actually wore, and many continued to wear their headpieces throughout the day...says something positive about design right?  For the girls though, looks like there were some batches of defective glue as rhinestones just fell from a side! Pelé and Iroquois(Tribe) were clearly related, but they both looked REALLY good out on the road.

Drinks
Bar wait time was negligible with the exception of turning onto the last stage. Other than that, staff was friendly and eager to get you a drink! Drinks were strong by default, but not so much that you went into shock. We appreciated that :)

Food
Food was awesome! We hit the lunch area at 12 on the dot both days, variety was excellent and the food was fresh and hot!

The food venue could benefit from some more tents (as Saucy mentioned) and the big tree from our regular Tribe stop was definitely missed. The guys were feeling the heat on Tuesday, but the girls were dyin' in that sun! P.S. That panadol station was a godsend. Woke up with fever on Tuesday morning and the vanity station (/panadol tent) made the rest of the day happen!

Music
Truck 2 held it down! Having said that, René in Truck 1 had the best quality sound for sure. That truck was like a fete on itself as you could hear it clearly from a mile away, though I agree with Saucy on the mix at times. Some nice back in times, but 2 was the clear winner on the mix and the hype. Sachy proved to be a good hype man. We were having such a great time up front we barely even heard Private Ryan & Truck 3 until the after party.  Speaking of after party, Tribe, you are the bomb. Now THAT was an after party!!!

Route
I had to run from the car to meet the band already in the Savannah when we really didn't think that we were late but hey, at least we weren't waiting for hours in the hot sun in the middle of the day. They made a few cuts, but we flowwwwwed all day long! It was a bit sad to miss the rest of the Savannah as we had some friends waiting on the rest of that route, but if it meant keeping the mood up, boy it sure worked. That WASA truck wet down on Mucurapo Road made the day complete! :)

Security
We had our own personal security..lol. ell, not really, but it sure felt like that. Really great service, and security kept any undesirables at bay. Most importantly, they faded into the background when the fun was on.

People
I too was really worried about the possibility of a totally "stush" crowd. It was clear that few people made it in time to cross the stage on Monday morning. It felt a bit scarce. Stuck with our crew early Monday, but by lunchtime, it was business as usual ;) Beautiful faces, and just a good ole bram. From a purely male perspective, there was no shortage of beautiful, fun-loving women at all...lol

Any conservatives that were left over from Monday just let loose by Tuesday though, let me tell you! Tuesday sealed off any fears as we the Tribe vibe was in full swing; jamishness was in full effect.

That Jamaican posse was large and lovin' it!

Wish-list for 2012
1) Don't increase the size of the band. At least, don't cross 3000... Please!

2) Please get some performances. I can still clearly remember the surprise performances of  Tribe from the very first year that i played mas with them after switching from Island People. Even last year, when quality music was scarce, we got JW &  Blaze on the road.

That's the one thing missing; the cake's missing that icing. Get some performances back to Tribe and Bliss please!

3) Get some more tents into the lunch area. LARGE, like the huge red bull tents. Oh, and maybe a description of what's in each food tent. That way there isn't a sea of harassment to find out "wha yuh get dey boy?"

4) Remember what your clientele is for Bliss. You need at least one rest truck for the band. I also didn't see any "wee wee" trucks, but i could have just missed it as i was in the middle most of the days.

5) The male headpieces for Pelé and Amazonia actually stayed on and flowed...maybe there's something to be learnt here.Please remember that guys pay for a costume too. Nice to see some useful detail on us this year instead of what usually feels like cardboard on the chest...

6) Keep up the good work!

~agundaba~
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