#TheKokoConcert Review: #TeamGbolahan

The much-hyped Koko Concert, staged at the still-under-construction site that is Eko Atlantic, promised much. The erstwhile headliner of the Afro-pop scene, D’Banj had a lot to prove. His abrupt parting of ways with his Mo-Hits crew had his audience curious to see what he could deliver.

 The Nigerian acts the preceded the foreign acts did the bare minimum, they performed songs the audience was familiar with but judging from the crowd’s reaction, they were content to dance. The live stream got over the technical glitch the rendered Burna Boy’s performance silent, the (V)VIP stand gave way under the pressure, the sub-compere, Basketmouth (Idris Elba was billed as he main host of the show) did a good job of keeping the crowd distracted.

 The main part of the show commenced with UK-born Nigerian artist, Tinnie Tempah, whose performance set the bar for the whole night. He performed his songs on clear high quality instrumental tracks, which was a welcomed break from the previous artists who simply lip-synched over their hits. He engaged with the crowd, reminded them that he was one of them and at one point had the boys in the audience waving their t-shirts over their heads helicopter style, he danced, he ran and thanked the crowd.
 Next up was D’Banj’s label mate, Pusha-T, an artist with barely any name recognition in Nigeria, he performed his guest spots on several singles, the crowd, as one tweet put it ‘looked at the guy like an election poster’. The Nigerian concert audience can be unforgiving on a performer, unless an artist is willing to expend huge amounts of energy to get them on side a la Tinnnie Tempah or perform hits that they are already familiar with. Pusha exited the stage to polite applause.

 Idris Elba, the Hollywood heart throb, whose presence at the show prompted Lagos chics to buy fresh weaves and wear high heels to a beach concert in the hope that he’d make eye contact with them, made another appearance to introduce the ironically named Big Sean, also a GOOD music label mate. Sean, told the crowd he brought his family to experience the ‘motherland’ and even though he lost his luggage, he was keen to put on a good show. In his ill-advised leather combo, he proceeded to perform his features on songs the audience was clearly unfamiliar with, he re-rapped ‘Mercy Me’, brought out Pusha T again and the crowd was made to ‘swerve’ at least three times! Despite his repeated efforts to amp them up, the crowd was not entirely responsive. Perhaps it was fatigue, it was already 2am by the time Sean, who had since shucked his leather shirt, launched into his hit with Chris Brown, the aptly named, ‘My Last’.

 Big Sean exited the stage, Heartthrob Idris came back on, he asked the crowd to give it up for the biggest artist in the world, one could almost feel the tired crowd perk up, ‘Is it Kanye West, is it Jay Z’?! Then there was some more commotion on the already over crowded stage. Someone pulled out a Yoruba film style ‘Kabiyesi-Crown’ and placed it on a figure cloaked in a deep red damask, the robe came off, as did the crown, it was D’Banj. Sigh.
 If there was a roar when he revealed himself, resplendent in his shirtless glory, it was hard to hear. He launched into ‘Oyato’ his semi-hit pronouncing himself as a standout on the scene. What was however hard to understand was, the CD track was playing, as was a live band that sounded strangely amateurish. He then gave a long speech, asking the already tired crowd to show him some love before turning to VVIP section and apologizing for what one can only assume was the disorganized natured of the show. Unsatisfied, he turned to main body of the crowd, those who paid five & twenty thousand Naira respectively and asked them to ‘beg the (V)VIPs’! After this revealing episode, Naeto C came on, for a review of his performance, please see the second paragraph.
 He then launched into a couple of his GOOD Music era songs, at it was that point that Gbolahan came into view.
 #Gbolahan was a member of the crowd, whose body language seemed to reveal what the majority of the audience felt. He kept hands in his pockets as D’Banj performed his GOOD Music songs, shifting from one foot to the other. The hands came out as Davido was introduced and launched into his non-descript hits, he was familiar with these songs, he did a little jig from side to side. He cocked his head to the side in utter bemusement as D’Banj took Davido to the right of the stage because “the people wey pay money dey dat side” and with sweet irony, he announced, “ah won ti lo le” (Ah, they’ve gone home). We knew what Gbolahan, in his No. 14 Arsenal jersey was thinking, ‘My 5k is money too’.
 We lost Gbolahan when D’banj decided that at 3am, he would launch one of his yankee acts, who would engage in vocal gymnastics and sing a song no one was familiar with. The crowd thinned out at this stage.
 To close the show, D’Banj launched in to his single stellar hit on the year, the Don Jazzy produced ‘Oliver Twist’. At this point, Gbolahan reappeared, as D’banj sang, he stood almost still, the hands were back in his pocket. He had stayed till the end, perhaps in the vain hope that D’Banj, the dapper happy-go-lucky star of the Naija music scene would come good. As the song drew to a close, he shook his head and did a slow shuffle to the exit as the ‘Koko Master’ finally thanked the 5 & 20k crowd for coming.
 In the end, it was Tinnie Tempah’s show, he performed like someone who knew people had paid to see him, the clarity of the backing tracks he rapped on and his determination to keep the audience engaged made sure, even in the middle of the mediocrity that was the Koko Concert, there was a highlight for the audience to take away.

The New & Old

I can’t even bring myself to open with the usual, ‘it’s been a minute’! It has been a long time and then some. I’ve thought about blogging, I think about it a lot. Finding the time had proven to be really rather difficult these days but I’m motivated right now, I’ve got a strong need to write so, here it goes.

Those who are familiar with the blog know some things about me. i.e likes, dislikes, passions etcetera… So, where do I start? I’m still a banker of sorts, since the last time I wrote, I started a project with my boy Mac, we’re pretty serious about this one. Fingers crossed, I can say more about it soon. I don’t wanna jinx it. Yeah, it’s a silly fear but I’m holding on to it. . I bought an iPad, that’s a big leap from me. I’ve gone from being irritated by the ubiquity of Apple products to being a user, though I’m not quite a fanboy like Mac but I coming round. I also bought a camera, and in my personal time honoured tradition, dude is called ‘G. Parks’.

I took a trip to Naija in November, it helped me square my circle. By this I mean, I realised that I’m too open, too welcoming and a lotta folks will take advantage of that! So, what does yours truly do? Well, far be it for me to change, I’m tryna apply some wisdom to the situation, I truly believe in forgiving all the ungrateful muhfuckas, I just don’t have to let them back in my cipher, right? Anyway, the highlight of my trip, I got to hang out with a friend that has quickly become my favourite. Err, let’s call her Yellow, very cool level headed chic, I dig her a lot, Lagos was a let down this time around, but for her and a couple of folk, the trip would have been a total dud, so I’m, pretty grateful.

I’m planning another trip to Lagos and Abuja soon, if anyone knows any cool joints, please hit me up. I should do some more ‘high brow’ things when I’m home. All I get into is drinking and clubbing, I can do that anywhere! The signs are good though, I’ve got G.Parks, I’ll be well armed next time and I promise to document my trip.

So, I was talking a friend of mine the other day, this is a casual friend at work, an older dude, one who has this rather ethereal way about him, I tend to give a lotta weight to what dude says. He gives off this air of having seen and done a lot, yeah, I dunno if I mentioned that Tv and I are giving our little situation another whirl! I may blog on that at another time. Dude did some mad psychoanalysis on me, I’m buzzing right now. Not in a good or bad way, it’s sorta like being made aware of the some exposed nerve(s). I don’t know if that makes any sense.

My tastes in music remain the same, I still dig my Saffa house music. As I typed this joint out, I had this song in my head ‘Those who wait’ by Daley, dude is a British cat who’s real heavy into his soul thing. He put out a free mixtape not long ago, quality stuff, I’d recommend a download. Oh, back to the Saffa House music, I’ve been playing the hell outta this joint, I’m guessing it’s old, but it’s new to me,  , ‘Lento’ by Professor, this is my song!

This felt good, almost like I did take the unduly long break.