I must confess that I’ve always wanted to do this (a blow by blow account of a music show) ever since I read thisday music festival october 7th & 8th, 2006 and RHYTHM UNPLUGGED Lagos: THE REVIEW...a must read. I hope this rocks and if it doesn’t you’d be entitled to a refund of the 10 minutes of your life you’re about to spend reading this.
The show which held on the 8th of September (2007) at the Ladi Kwali hall of the Sheraton Hotel Abuja was put together by the Wetin Dey? organizers. Wetin Dey? a 30 minutes television drama with HIV awareness and prevention as its main theme is itself sponsored by the BBC World Service Trust.
I took the original notes for this post with my Nokia…1100! It’s crazy the shit we learn to manage so well with. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the event to share. I didn’t have a device to make that possible and the digital camera of the chick I sat with wasn’t recharged enough.
On the lucky side I got a seat at the front row, which definitely is the best seat at shows from a “fan”atic perspective. With it comes the privilege of seeing the artists up, close and personal with all the energy or lack of it they bring to their act. You also get to touch them if they ever deal out handshakes. Although I didn’t bother about that second bit because I was feeling kind of reserved at the night.
The show which was a mixture of music, fashion, talk and drama started at about 6.25pm as against the original commencement time of 4pm, which meant arriving late because I completed watching the 3pm Super Eagles game counted for nothing. If music is my beloved son, football is its twin.
The MC for the show was one of the Wetin Dey? actresses. If you follow the drama you’d recognize her as the wife of the policeman. She did a nice job; humour and class combined in one. The co-sponsors of the show did theirs too by providing free HIV counseling and testing in front of the event venue; though I doubt that a lot of people took advantage of that. Talking about people the attendance was over 100% and incident free. Kind of expected though considering the fact that the audience was a representation of the crème de la crème of the posh/ajebotas Abuja youths.
The performance roaster for the event was almost endless with the artists scheduled to come on stage in the order of their level of success/establishment in the industry. You might disagree with the listing but I think they got it pretty right. And being that the acts were much and time wasn’t the deal was that it was to be more or less a song per act. Despite that they were expected (and they did) to throw a line or two about protection against HIV during their piece.
After several upcoming acts had come and gone it was Noree the non rhyming but sweet “baby no dey lie” ABJ crooner’s turn. I thought he’d perform his “baby no dey lie” song and wow the crowd but the brother had a new song premiere plan instead. The highlight of his performance was this amusing incident which I suspect was rehearsed. Midway into his act a guy ran on stage to embrace him kneeling down (I guess that’s a forgivable lapse on the part of the bouncers as they generally did a good job of protecting the artists on stage) and Nore gave the guy his copy of the show’s invitation card, after which the guy did the sign of the cross as if he’d just been blessed by a reverend father and then left the stage.
Seun the sweet voiced gospel artist and FUTH Minna graduate was next. I don’t really know the name of his song he did but what the heck, I love all his songs! For me he killed it but judging by the relative indifference of the hall he’s got to work on his publicity.
Of all the upcoming (and hitherto unknown to me) artists on parade I felt this swagger heavy guy the most. I didn’t get his name but the rap song had the “she go say I be lady” part of Fela’s “lady” continuously looped as the chorus. Ingenious! His hypeman was what made his act thick though. The dude was fat as fuck but displayed dance moves from several genres much to the delight of the crowd.
When they were gone the DJ spinned Olu Maintain’s “yahoozee” and it got the hall crazy with everyone doing the yahoozee dance. I must say the DJ was great on the night, some others would say he’s much better than the over hyped Jimmy Jatt
The yahoozee frenzy didn’t last for long as Uche a gospel rock artist (rock artists in Nigeria are endangered species) was due to do her thing. Her song rocked! Pun intended; reminds me of Evanescence’s “bring me to life”. And the chorus is in…wait for it, Igbo! She’s also a dancer and a medical practitioner. Not bad but what was with all the dancing on stage, that’s not what rock is about. I could have sworn she attended UNN or UNEC; someone like her was a regular feature at school shows…that’s without the rock part though.
When she was done Bemsar the guitar man came on to do his “something good” gospel song. It left me feeling Godly. There was a drama sketch afterwards that featured a few of the Wetin Dey? cast. It was written by an HIV positive guy, evidence of the fact that testing positive doesn’t mean one’s career goal is done for. There were other breaks where speakers came to talk on HIV related issues, particularly of note was one cute dreads wearing chick. Damn the virus.
Age Beeka came through after the talk. He did some new songs from his forth coming album and as usual brought the whole gyrating on stage thing to his act.
And things could only get better as MI came on after him. The phrase “short but mighty” aptly fits the Chocolate City rapper! He was the first act of the night to have the crowd literarily eating out of the palm of his hands. He talked to the crowd about himself, his music and the circumstances that led to the writing of the two songs he performed: a narrative love song and his conscious intelligent “crowd mentality” hit.
The first part of the fashion parade was then rolled out featuring male and female models. The second part and wrap up came later on in the course of the show. It was my first catwalk live viewing. Nice moves I must say and excellent work with the wrappers, or is it ankara that it’s called? Ladies help me out; the designer was a cutie too.
Terry Tha Rapman subsequently came on with AT as his hypeman (AT had earlier on did his own solo, an R&B cover of an American rap song, thumbs down bro). Sadly Terry’s performance on the night was as poor as his dressing. His on stage carriage was weak and he made “na beans” and “only for Naija” look like dumb songs.
Sixfootplus the Abuja based hip hop veteran was next. Though I personally feel he has passed his prime he had a great performance and the crowd loved him. AT made his 3rd appearance on stage as Six’s hypeman. If OD was there too for his “don’t hate” hit I would have puked as AT would have made it a record 4th time on stage. Six had the some Tiv dancers on for “swange” from his 1999 album and then wrapped things up with the more current “e don do me”. The sing along chorus value of both songs really enhanced his performance.
After him was 2shotz (With MI of all people as his hypeman! I’m guessing that was an impromptu arrangement) and true to pun rules his performance was too short. He worked the whole hall into a frenzy and then left almost as soon as he came in. Sort of like getting mami wet with the foreplay thing only to slip out before the big O under the pretext of meeting up with wifey for dinner.
Sasha was next. By this time with each act the audience crowded around the stage cheering on, some others taking pictures with their phones and digital cameras and hustling for space with the professional photographers and video camera men. I might not really be into her but I admit she was good, the crowd showed her love particularly 3 boys who were drooling at her through out her time on stage.
Shit was progressively getting bigger, it was Modenine’s turn. Sage came on first to do a spoken word intro. I couldn’t appreciate his poetry, probably because the noise levels were by now high in anticipation of Modo. Poetry done with it was time for rap; Modo stepped out with Kraft tagging along. He was thoroughly mobbed as almost all the young core hip hop lovers rushed towards the stage. It was the first time that more than half of the audience was up on their feet, I had to stand up too else I see nothing. He did “cry”, “Nigerian girls”, “Lagos state of mind” and his verse on “stylee” (Modo displaying his new found Lagos love in front of his original ABJ people was…queer) with the crowd rapping along with him word for word. I admit this made me really happy; it’s what hip hop is about from a fan’s perspective and it’s good to see this happening in Nigeria and to our own artists. But what was with Modo’s cap, he was switching its position like every single minute. He should have just thrown the damn thing to the audience like top acts do. More than a handful of the crowd were half expecting him to do so.
One hit wonder Weird MC (she solely got rich off “ijoya” and the feature on P-Square “bizzy body remix”. I must slap myself for still harbouring hustler ambitions) wrapped up the show. She came in with the P-Square intro, you could have thought P-Square were in the house. I must give it to her though as she bettered Modenine by getting the whole hall standing. She did her “bizzy body” lines, some other nothing-extraordinary songs of hers and then the big hit: “ijoya”. She might be a small woman but she packs more than her fair share of energy as she covered all corners of the stage and even the crowd stands. The show ended well after 10pm.