Chilling out in Ta’ Fra Ben is always a joyous occasion, but on this particular Friday, there was something very different going down. That was, of course, ManaTapu’s launch party for their new album Tuatara. Boy, do these guys know how to throw a party too. Not wanting to miss a good time, UGS headed north to investigate.

Good Vibes at Ta’ Fra Ben

Myself and a good friend who tagged along got there at around 6:30 PM. Entering the inner sanctum of Fra Ben, we made our way toward the bar to grab a cold one. Beer in hand, we started to explore this wonderland of good vibes. At this time, the place was still relatively empty so it was pretty nice to be able to chill out and watch everything. ManaTapu frontman Jogy Bo was busy doing the rounds through the people there to make sure everyone was having a good time.

Good Vibes at ManaTapu

Courtesy of András Koncsek

The set up within Fra Ben was amazing. The stage was strategically placed in front of the tower and offered some majestic sights throughout the night as it acted as the backdrop for each of the bands that played. The slackline suspended over the pools was of particular interest too. Grabbing a German hotdog, we looked on as, one by one, people attempted to make it the whole way across, many of them stopping to perform some balancing tricks.

Let the Party Begin

As the sun began to set, the crowd was starting to grow in anticipation of the night ahead. It wasn’t until then that droves of people began to pour into the venue. Within the space of 30 minutes, the whole place was packed – and I mean really packed. The party was ready to begin.

The night started off with a warm-up act from Jay Minor who got the crowd ready for more. She was followed shortly after by Lucy’s Last who were showcasing their new, electro-heavy sound. They played some of the new tracks that they have been working on over the last couple of months. We made our way down to the front of the stage where we were greeted by a crowd of people flowing to the vibrations and the synth-heavy compositions.

Once we had settled down after the lively set, we grabbed another drink, wiped the sweat from our brows and went back into the sea of people to watch Pon Di Coner. As we found our place front and centre again, the international reggae and hip-hop crew were just setting up. It had been some time since I saw these guys playing live – probably not since Marley Fest last February – but they were as energetic as ever. Music is My Inspiration was, as always, a real crowd pleaser as it reverberated nicely within the venue.

ManaTapu Take to the Stage

The time had finally come, ManaTapu took to the stage in a frenzy of energy and excitement. Knowing full well how to get the crowd going, these guys put one hell of a performance. Accompanied by fire dancers expertly controlling their flames, ManaTapu played the entirety of their new album. Their mix of reggae and ska is the perfect amalgamation of genres for a live performance full of vigour. With an arsenal of instruments at hand (and Jogy’s charisma) they put on a show to remember.

The night ended with a set from DeejayBee of Urban Kaos who brought some sick drum n bass and jungle beats to the place. About 30 minutes into the set we decided to call it a night though. The amount of dancing, drinking and general merriment had done its part of the hours we had been there. It was time to call a taxi, grab a kebab and call it a night. What a night it was though.

If you missed ManaTapu at Ta’ Fra Ben, make sure you check them out at Earth Garden. They will be playing the Roots Stage on Thursday night. Check them out if you’re heading towards Ta Qali for the weekend.


Words by: Shane McLáimh

Images courtesy of: ManaTapu