Indepen-dance Uhuru Concert Review
The moment the news broke that South African house sensation Uhuru were making plans to be in Zimbabwe for a concert, Phil & I were extremely excited. Mostly because we like crowds for non-pickpocketing reasons, but also because the music is cool and we had another opportunity to fund raise.
Immediately, the "Get The 2 Broke Twimbos to Uhuru" fund was started up and after numerous meetings with investors and pledges from corporate entities all over the globe, we managed to raise 0.40c, just enough for Dan to make it to the venue if he negotiated with the commuter omnibus conductor. To make sure Phil didn't miss out on any of the fun just because we hadn't raised enough money for him, we agreed that I would send him a "Please Call Me Back" text message every time a good song came on.
The concert was billed to start promptly at 18:00 hrs, so in my excitement I made an extra effort to be there bright and early at 21:30 hrs CAT. DJ Naida was just about beginning her set on stage and that was a good way to walk into the event. She brought a high level of energy and mixed in performances of her songs with high energy party tracks that really got the crowd moving. There were several more opening acts to go before Uhuru were to take the stage.
MMT then took over the stage and performed some of their big hits from the past year including "Wake Up", "Party Yatanga" and "Zvidhori". As they performed "Zvidhori", Stunner, Simba Tagz, and Smylie also took the stage to add their verses, and the crowd responded with a roar of appreciation. Smylie by the way was the MC for the evening, and he did a brilliant job keeping the energy levels high and hyping up the crowd into a frenzy before each act came on.
Next, Ba Shupi took the stage and had the crowd in stitches as he taught us how to sing "Godo" in Chinese. (For the record, it goes something along the lines of "Toyota, Mazda, Daihatsu." Not exactly Chinese I know, but funny none the less) Peekay then took to the stage and showcased some of his new music as well as the hit track "Ma 1" with Ba Shupi and Simba Tagz. When he switched to the remix, Roki took to the stage (looking like he had just shaken hands with the cow in the sky) and surprised the audience with a taste of some of his music
O-25 also took to the stage and performed his breakout hit "Money" as well as his new track "Zviri Nani". At this point, Smylie came in and expertly re-injected the energy that had been lost on some of the acts as the DJ dropped some popular hip-hop tracks, driving the by-then slightly inebriated audience to jump around like they were in a Lil Jon video. Judgement Yard then got the crowd ready for actual actual partying as they dropped their dancehall set.
At this point it was now Independance Day and time for Uhuru to take over the stage, event, venue and day. I quickly abandoned my foraging in the waste bins near the burger stands and made my way to the front to make sure I didn't miss a single second and get full value for the free ticket that I had used. It was easy to tell the difference between the main act and the opening acts. While some of the local acts were entertaining to an extent, the finesse of Uhuru really showed that they had more experience, more rehearsal time, more charisma & more understanding of their audience. It didn't seem that way as DJ Clap & Maphorisa started it off, perhaps as they were still calibrating their equipment. However, by the time Xelimpilo & Mapiano joined their DJ's on stage, they quickly dispelled any doubts when they switched it up & then cycled through many of our favourite hits including "Khona", "Via Orlando", "Thathi S'gubu", "Don't You Worry Child" steadily building the momentum to a crescendo before they dropped the track that everyone was waiting for, "Y Tjukutja". There is no doubt that they put on a good performance and overall the event can be looked back on as a success.
On the downside, I was a bit disappointed that some of the local artists looked like they had not rehearsed or that they were simply just throwing together a bunch of songs without making an actual event of it. Worrying reports surfaced after the show too hinting at tension between the local artists and the promoters over payment and professionalism. In the interests of all in the industry and of music fans in general, hopefully all these issues will be a thing of the past in the near future.
At this point I began my long trek home, resting on bus benches along the way while muttering "Uyuyaaaa! Y Tjukutjaaaa" at stray cats. Big shout out to T-Bass & P-Styles as well as Divine Sounds Entertainment for putting together this concert (this is the part where I campaign for a free ticket to the next event) and we look forward to the next amazing party that these esteemed promoters will, in their wisdom and greatness, put together for us unworthy and humble consumers.
Check out some of the pictures: