So Tribe has released their theme for Carnival 2k9 and it is "Birds of a Feather". As it is related to Carnival, one would automatically presume that they would be representing different types of avian species. However another interpretation can be suggested when we complete this phrase as to make the common saying.... "Birds of a feather, flock together".
Now this got me to thinking, exactly what type of birds flock together in Tribe?Some of you may think that I am a 'diehard' Tribe supporter. However you would be very incorrect to presume that. I am a diehard CARNIVAL supporter. A few years back you might have called me a 'diehard' Poison masquerader because I played mas with them for 8 years before switching to Tribe. I switched to Tribe the very first year they were their independant band (much to my diehard Poison parents' dismay) even though I had never registered in ANY of the bandleaders sections in Poison. I switched because I wanted something different to what was being offered in Poison and also because my friends were there. I actually pretty much signed up on a whim cause I happened to be in the camp with a friend and figured I might as well sign up as I was there. But even from observation, I always thought Tribe in Posion provided their masqueraders with stellar service. The last year that Tribe was in Poison, my Dad, as one of Poison's road mangers came to me and said that he had never seen such an organised section in his life. Between security, food etc , it was like they were their own band in a band. He predicted quite accurately (and even warned Posion management) that they would break away from Poison.
It was quite clear from Tribe Year 1, that Tribe was going to be, overall, a band with a much younger demographic than Poison. If there was anybody over 40 years that first year ,they were few and far in between. With its increased popularity, the Tribe demographic widened astronomically. Now I see my friends' parents (cause my parents are now Pulse 8 ppl) in the band along with every government minister and the old boy he self, President Richards (another former Poison stalwart). Now the reason I stuck with Tribe instead of tacking back by Poison is because their service was indeed stellar, the costumes sexier, the all inclusive band concept still unique and their entire operation was technologically advanced. I was most shocked at Year two to see people looking to riot outside the mascamp for costume. Which begs the question, why did people 'flock' to Tribe in the first place? I would love to know the reasons that people chose to make Tribe their band of choice. Is it that just that the word got around that Tribe was 'the' place to be for our generation?
I would be just as interested to know why some people chose to leave. I was filled with joy when Island People got into the game because I thought to myself, "A set of ppl will say that is the new 'hot band' and jump ship and ease up the crowd in Tribe". So said , so done.It is still very ironic to me that Tribe seems to have come almost full circle to where they started. This year I felt very much like the ghost of Posion had come to haunt us with the masses of ppl on the road and the costume foul ups. This is one of the very reasons that Tribe defected in the first place, with the good intentions to be a party on the road as compared to a mob. As I said , we are seeing the same older and much younger age group of ppl now that were not there before in Tribe but were in Poison.The service level is dropping, the costumes now start to get iffy and the registration is a bacchanal.The only thing that distinguishes Tribe from the Poison of lore is the fact that its still all inclusive (and maybe not for long at that).
To be fair,I never opted to go with Island people simply because 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. I had no problems with Tribe so I stuck with it even though IP costumes also appealed to me. In hindsight I was glad I did when I heard of the issues that they have had over the years.
But back to the birds of a feather.... without a doubt most of the people I know play in Tribe. Its the same people I see in all the parties and events that I go to.The very name Tribe connotates a group of individuals with the same backgorund. I would be circumventing the issue if I were not to mention that Tribe is generally categorised by the public as a 'middle class' to 'upper class band' which contains predominantly lighter complexions with a large population from the Eastern hemisphere.( Who else could afford those sky high prices). So is it not possible that we have all been playing in Tribe and continue playing in Tribe (even when they do shit) more because all the people who went to our 'prestige' school play in Tribe, all the people we work with in our professional position play in Tribe , our local celebrities and officials play in Tribe and not because of what 'Tribe the Band' has to offer? That maybe, just maybe,we play because everyone else who is like us plays there?
Herein lies the appeal of 'new' bands like ELEMENTS. Now shall I play devils' advocate? We had another 'new' band last year called Evolution which was pegged by some to be the next 'hot' band. I know a few of the people involved in the band. However,I personally know only 1 person that played in costume with Evolution and she not even what I would call an acquaintance. Just somebody I bounce up a time. In general, even though Evolution had some good names behind it, none of them ever had a significant role in Tribe and the band did very little to put a dent in the behemoth Tribe. This year ,we have Elements which is produced by former Tribe designers. In addition many of their section leaders are past Tribe masqueraders or Harts 'die hards.' Considering this, will Elements be able to unsettle or even overturn the behemoth simply because BIRDS OF A FEATHER ,FLOCK TOGETHER? Will the birds migrate now that some leaders of the flock have already done so? From the introduction party on Tuesday, I was really not suprised to see many long standing Tribe masqueraders in Elements T-shirts. There were also many boisterous supporters without Tshirts. It seems to me that some people have already pledged their allegiance to the new band based on people they know involved and not because of the costumes or package being offered as this is yet to be revealed.
Personally, I can only make a comparison between the two bands once the information is available to hold them up side by side. I am not as inclined to jump ship ,at this point ,to Elements as I was when I jumped ship from Poison to Tribe. I think it is because I do not believe that Tribe has reached to the point where it is beyond repair which I believe Poison almost certainly did. I still have faith that because of their performance history Tribe can correct their shortcomings once they acknowledge and address the problems.(Cause the first step is admitting you have a problem). This was Poison's downfall....they were more interested in numbers than the masquerader experience. Tribe is moving dangerously close to that cliff. Its a waste of time to comment on Elements cause nothing in their modus operandi is as yet forthcoming to warrant such.