Shifta For A Dance-Ready Crowd

Here’s another example of SunFest giving a big break to a local artist: Shifta’s set late Sunday afternoon. The Miami-based reggae artist is still firmly an up-and-comer, but his professional-grade show meant a slot on the festival’s Ford stage, just before the one-two punch of Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar. That meant a huge opportunity to perform for a crowd of thousands.

Luckily, he made good use of it, turning the show into a party from the moment he stepped onstage. Those familiar with Major Lazer might have recognized that a page from that group’s performance book — Shifta decided on total controlled chaos from the get-go. There was a man in a Saw creepy puppet mask on a tricycle, people in fuzzy bear suits, a team of backup dancers in neon orange Lycra tops, exploding confetti guns, and somewhere in the middle of all that, Shifta himself.

Amid his backup dancers’ narrative choreography, he opted for club-ready songs, based more on EDM and dance-pop than pure reggae, choosing just a few reggae-style inflections here and there. It worked for a crowd that definitely came ready to jump up and down and get warmed up for the evening’s headliners.