The weekend that was
There were two main big events taking place last weekend. One was in Kisumu, Club da Place, where Ethic Entertainment were joining DJ Mellow for their first major concert at the lake city. The other one was a fusion of sorts with new Gengetone stars Sailors Gang, The Decimators and Zzero Sufuri joining the bigwigs during the Koroga Festival held at Two Rivers on Saturday and Sunday.
The Kisumu Friday night show was a blast. For starters, revellers came out in their hundreds, mostly curious to see these new singers tilting the Kenyan entertainment landscape. And the youngsters did not disappoint. Rhyming to their hit single Lamba Lolo, Instagram, Saba and Figa, the group made a good account of itself – even giving bonus performances from their upcoming songs.
Mellow, the life of the party, did not disappoint. Ever the hype girl and shejay, the rather energetic performer did not have a dull moment as the show went on till the wee hours of Saturday.
Back to the capital city, Nairobi, it was business unusual as the numbers trooped to Two Rivers for what was going to be one of the biggest concerts of the month. Well, the show took off slowly on Saturday but build up to a good climax on Sunday when everyone seemed to have come out for a family outing of entertainment.
On this crystal clear Sunday afternoon Nairobi sky, market vendors shift through their rails and sweet smoke fills the air, as we make our way to the 27th One Love Edition of Koroga Festival. The Lovechild, Wyre backed by the sensational Gravitti Band has already left the stage and there is all this talk about how hyped his set was.
We are damned for missing out but we are excited to see another Kenyan reggae and dancehall star, Redsan take the stage. We were privileged to catch him on his Koroga Festival band rehearsals prior to this day and we were blown away. As we try to make our way to the main stage, Koroga Festival is, supposedly, a seated affair. But as soon as the amazing dancers and Swahili Jazz Band, Redsan's backing band, takes the stage, the entire dome rises. By the time the tall and energetic Redsan himself appears, sauntering on stage, the aisles are busy with everyone scrambling to get a piece of the action.
His set is a perfect blend of his decades-plus past, present and future journey, switching effortlessly from dancehall to reggae from his sing-along tunes from back in the days to his latest hits from his The Baddest album. His melody, hooks and dance moves leave quite an impression.
He then calls on to stage a surprise welcome of fellow pop star, Timmy T-Dat, in what turns the performance into a celebratory concert.
Alpha Blondy's performance in Kenya was energetic, crowd-pleasing and almost a perfect storybook ending for Koroga Festival on Sunday night. The Solar System Band with its brass players, keyboards and percussion, and a couple of excellent female dancers and backing singers, are first to take the stage.
First was Blondy's voice, which marks him out as unmistakably before the timeless 66-year-old singer takes the stage. The band plays with such energy that at one point it felt like a rock 'n’ roll concert.
His music is full of message and the banter in between well-orchestrated. Songs like Jerusalem, Brigadier Sabari and Cocody Rock had the full dome singing as one, joining the star in a powerful collective heartbeat, blended with the mandatory reggae two-step, pointing in the air and singing along to Blondy's stirring political manifestos, with gusto to spare.
His ability to share the love he received from his fans while he performed on stage was phenomenal. He would reach out and touch your hand, give you a high five, jump, dance, bend down, run even off stage and come back on stage to take a selfie with you, all this while singing his songs. He even picked up this little boy from the crowd and got him on stage.
The downside? Sadly, there were a couple of sound issues during the DJ sets but all that was quickly forgotten thanks to the great vibes. Oh yes, and the loos. It's about time event organisers this matter seriously. How else would you expect people to come to your event and enjoy drinks without a comfortable place to relieve themselves?