Sunday, December 20, 2015

How it all went down at Rhythm Unplugged 2015

Scheduled for a 7 PM start, Rhythm Unplugged 2015 edition did not start until 10:32 PM. Both of the hosts, Baskethmouth and Bovi, attempted to amuse the crowd during the delay, but this did not work. Late starts should be a no-no; organisers should respect the people who bother to come out for events!
The opening performances were by two comedians, Odogwu and Ajele. They were average performances that failed to make us forget the hassles of arriving at the venue and the pain of waiting for the show to start.
Rhythm Unplugged
The opening music act was Berouge; I thought we were better off without it. Sephia was next, but not exactly better. Kick Josh similarly should have spared us the trouble. To the winner of the Rhythm Unplugged competition: I think you should go and get your music right before acquiring a fake accent. It has not helped anybody.
I know they are upcoming artistes who should be encouraged, but let me state that music is not for everyone, nor is live performance. But if you must, then develop your craft. There is no way singing and winning ‘Grammys’ in the bathroom can compare with engaging a live audience.
It was a gift right out of heaven to have had DJ Exclusive introduced at the time he was. His scratches were a memory jog that made me appreciate how far we have come as a music industry in Nigeria and reassured me that regardless of the late night, I was probably going to have a good time. But it was not just Nigerian music but music from everywhere, reaching out to everyone in the audience and taking them down memory lane and all the way back to the contemporary. A DJ’s ability to make people’s hearts race can only mean fun!
Unfortunately, the sound went bad. And then it went bad some more.
Wizkid- Rhtm Unplugged
I wonder, if they could afford to have a drone film the event, why not a good sound system?  But DJ Exclusive got it all back together and when he cued ‘Shakitibobo’ I knew there was no going back! Who slows down when they hear “It’s young John the wicked producer” on a Friday night?
On this note, Bovi came in to take a jab at Ben Murray Bruce and his common-sense tweets, supposedly born out of his inability to get speaking time on the floor of the senate. But it was Buchi who killed it. I hope DJ Exclusive, DJ Cuppy, Davido and Olamide found the jokes as funny as we did.
For the rest of the night, the jokes were centred on “women” and honestly I think the women punchlines are fast wearing out! It does appear that a joke is incomplete without poking fun at or objectifying the “woman”. Dear Okey Bakassi, nothing ever makes rape funny! Not the woman’s outfit, location or anything else. Rape is caused by rapists! I am super glad that they killed the sound on you. Rubbish.
DJ Cuppy came up next. Now while I appreciate her drive to create a career and fame for herself, I think that if she feels so strongly that you want to be a DJ, she should go and acquire the needed skills and knowledge. Coming right after DJ Exclusive (and I know this is not a fair comparison) revealed a world of gaps. Her song choices went in no particular direction; it felt like seeing a bat trapped in a room in broad day light, flying back and forth and looking for an escape route. It was loud, no synch and she was the only person enjoying what she was doing.
Trey on Stage. Image Nairaland
At 2:03 AM, Trey Songz came on stage and the ladies (and guys, who may not admit it) went wild. The sound changed as did the lighting and atmosphere. Trey Songz brought the element to live performance that we are not used to around here. He was not lip synching. This is the reason why grown men and women one would leave their homes to go stay up all night instead of listening to an artist’s album on full blast at home.
Trey Songz did well to connect with his audience immediately and he had them where he wanted them. This was one night Nigerian boyfriends watched helplessly as their girlfriends oohed and ahhed over another man, Trey Songz right before them and there was really nothing they could do about it. They took over the entire front stage area, screaming more with each song and with each one wishing they were the lucky one Trey Songz gave a kiss on the forehead.
Davido came on stage with Trey Songs and it killed me. Imagine him attempting a shoki! You know how that Nigerians always find a way to connect more with a foreigner who identifies with them and even in those times still show love to what is theirs? That was it. Meanwhile, the audience was let in on the gist that there a new song brewing between Davido and Trey Songz. God, what did I do to deserve this much pleasure in one night?
But this Trey Songz is fine shaa o. I mean his hotness was oozing all over, dear God. He took off his shirt and the ladies screamed louder in anticipation. Then he threw it and everyone died trying to get it. It didn’t matter that it was sweat-soaked.
Wizkid came up immediately after and it could not have been any better. Although he could not sustain the tempo with which the crowd ushered him in, I fell in love again and again with Wizkid and Ojuelegba. It all was like being driven through a path you have never travelled, blind folded, yet you wanted to trust and truly every turn was memorable.
At 3:12 AM,Trey Songz left the stage and took with him the sound. Runtown came up after, a collage of noise and hype and everything but fun. But at least, he tried not to lip-sync. Reekado Banks, Korede Bello, Kiss Daniel and Lil Kesh (with his cool performance) took turns on the stage after.
And then, we heard “Baddo sneh…” Olamide was the perfect climax for me and for many others. Absolutely talented, with him we journeyed till 4:30 AM when he left the stage and people started trooping out of the hall. It didn’t matter who was coming after.
The synergy between Basketmouth and Bovi was just cool and not as explosive as one would have expected from two individually talented comedians. But their banter provided good interludes for the event. It also helped that the night was a blend of music and jokes.
Rhythm Unplugged 2015 offered good memories, to be sure. But I think that we need to consciously keep working on the quality of our event production in Nigeria. Nobody will die if a show starts on time. Also, I think that the stage was not spacious enough; there was very little left once the speakers and other stage props had been positioned.
But hey, I (eventually!) had a good time!