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Police try to stop Machel Montano at Zen

October 16, 2007

n1.jpgPolice attempted to stop Machel Montano’s performance at the Zen Nightclub, Keate Street, Port of Spain, on Friday, angering patrons and leaving the soca artiste bemused. When Montano asked what the problem was, one of the two officers who were on stage answered, “Stop allowing the women to touch your ……(testicles) .” At this the entire audience as well as Montano and members of his HD crew, including Kernel Roberts, Benjai, Zan and Patrice Roberts, burst into peals of laughter.

As soon as Montano came out on stage several of the women standing at the front of the audience began to reach out and grab at his crotch, which has become a norm over the past couple of years. Montano did hold onto one of the women’s hands pressing it to his crotch as he sung seductively to her, but he moved on quickly after several seconds. The officers did not take the stage until Montano came out although Benjai, Zan and Patrice Roberts each performed before he did.

An officer was standing at each wing of the stage, one wearing a bulletproof vest and the other standing staring menacingly at Montano while holding on to his holstered gun and slowly moving towards the DJ providing the backing music for the performance. At one point, Montano reacted to something that happened in the audience and blurted an expletive, which he quickly pulled back and apologised to the patrons. The police, however, did not react to this.

They approached the DJ and told him to stop the music after a couple other women grabbed Montano’s crotch. Kernel Roberts and Zen staff spoke with the officers and Roberts told Montano that the police “want to lock you up.” As the audience jeered and booed, Montano commented that he was fed up over all of his recent troubles with the police and said with his hands outstretched, “If all yuh want to lock meh up, lock meh up.” When he asked what the problem was and was told that he should stop the women from holding his crotch, Montano laughed, saying it was not his fault.

Zen owner, Johnny Soong eventually managed to placate the officers one of whom left the stage and did not return while the other maintained his vigil at the wings. Within minutes of the disturbance attorney-at-law, Keith Scotland appeared at the back of the stage where he too remained for the rest of the show.

Contacted yesterday, Montano’s manager, Elizabeth Montano who was at the show, declined comment saying only that things are very sensitive at this time. Efforts to contact Soong were unsuccessful up to the filing of this article.

Following the incident the show continued smoothly with Montano giving the audience a sneak peek of one of his Carnival 2008 Road March contenders entitled “Unconditional (Love)”. He also sang a groovy soca that is the follow-up to “One More Time”, which judging from the patrons’ reaction will have some popularity.

Although not accompanied by the HD band, Montano and his fellow frontline singers delivered a superb performance. Benjai especially had the crowd moving and calling for more as he performed snippets of his hit songs from the past eight years. Zan sang one of his songs for the coming Carnival, a soca love song entitled “Crying Out”, written by he and Roberts who also produced it. Patrice Roberts too showcased one of her songs for C2K8 receiving the approval of the audience. Following his performance there was a brief conference between Montano and the police.

Belmont police said yesterday they had no information about any official police action against Montano on Friday. The singer along with Kenrel Roberts and Zan appeared in court on an assault charge stemming from an alleged incident in the same club in April, this year

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