Augustine Miles Kelechi, popularly known as Tekno, performed at Nairobi’s Ngong Racecourse Waterfront over the weekend, at ‘The Wave’ concert by Hype Entertainment which was arguably the most highly anticipated showcase in the past three months.
Tekno’s seemingly effortless hits such as ‘Be’, ‘Pana’, ‘Yawa’ and ‘Duro’ have been rocking airwaves and music stations for the past couple of years and it seems his star won’t be dimming anytime soon.
Being an ardent fan of Tekno myself, I’d planned to get tickets immediately word got out, but my habitual Kenyan self just wouldn’t let me get the regular tickets when they were going for KES 1,800 a piece, but instead when they were on the brink of being sold out a day before the concert. By that time, I’d also contemplated heading to Big Square Mombasa Road to catch a glimpse, just in case I missed out. I hear the Nigerian star skipped that hyped meet-and-greet though, not 100% sure though.
Saturday evening was a packed day on this occasion. I had to get home, get ready, attend a friend’s birthday shenanigan, and then make my way to The Waterfront, all the while my phone had grown wings in an Uber the previous night. Despite the fact that I was convinced my day really couldn’t get any worse, I was purposed to make every cent of that KES 3,000 count.
I took an Uber, yeah I know we never learn despite terrible experiences, from Westlands to the concert venue at around 11.30pm, and by the time the Toyota Fielder had snaked its way through the deserted Wayaki Way and James Gichuru, and unfathomable gridlock knocked us back to the reality of an access point to a Nairobi concert around this witching hour. In between what was suddenly a one-way three to four lane Ngong Road stretch and a band of youths threatening to shatter windows if they weren’t given ‘kitu kidogo’, it was a half an hour wait to be dropped off unabashedly and abruptly slightly under a kilometre away from the Racecourse entry.
The Uber driver perfunctorily told me that was it, he couldn’t stand the traffic anymore, and I was left to fend for myself along that dark stretch of road, passing hooter-happy drivers and what was the constant fear of night-light robbery. Surely I was smarter than this. I’d already texted my friends that I was enroute and there was no way I was turning back now.
I made it to the main access point, where for the first time in about 8 years, I was asked for my ID. The scoff I gave the guard jolted him back to his senses that I was clearly not ‘under age’, a restriction I hadn’t seen on the ticket and advertising anyway. Speaking of which, is there such a thing as ‘over age’ for an event?
A chilly winter-like breeze hits pedestrians who’ve made it past the Racecourse gate towards the Waterfront entry. I must commend the security team that covered ‘The Wave’, because they were on top of their game. The ticketing arena was however, a colossal mess. I cannot underscore that enough. From the VIP, to the advance to the at the gate section, it was as if organisers were unprepared for the huge numbers that turned up. The way we were packed together like sardines squeezing towards the ticketing desks, made us all sitting ducks for pick-pocketers and hooligans. At this point, I was already suffering immensely from whiffs of cheap liquor from loads of evidently teenage or teetering early twenty somethings on those messy queues. 45 minutes later, I was past the entry and walking down the gravel path towards the half-packed venue: it seems midnight, or 12.45am to be more accurate, is the time that Kenyans check in to an event, never mind the fact that gates opened at around 4.00pm.
I jostled my way rather swiftly and effortlessly towards the front, right next to the stage area, because if I’ve paid all that money, I’d like to witness all of the goings-on on stage. And that’s exactly what I did.
The co-host, Amina, looked stunning in a green beret, retro army tank top that looked stylishly halved, with fitting skimpy shorts, low boots and some strikingly metallic jewellery that hid her cleavage but made the outfit even more dramatic than the hair that swooped to the right of her face. The other co-host, Fundi Frank, went with a more conservative denim look. Their chemistry and precision ensured that they kept to a schedule that was only known to them, but kept things flowing.
The stage area was well-branded, in shades of Telkom Kenya, Hennessy and Hype Entertainment. I liked how there was an expansive performance area that straddled a center cohort, flanked on peripheral ends of a VIP area and the artist’s performance section. Other than that, there wasn’t really anything mind-blowingly creative about it, but it was kind of nifty to have a levitating DJ booth with a fitted LCD screen move up and down the stage at different points.
I got in just before Fena Gitu took to the stage. She mesmerises me, as well as the crowd clearly, with the way she comes across as so cool and so humble at the same time. Through some of her greatest hits such as ‘Doing Her Thing Though’ and ‘Sema Ng’we’, it was electrifying to hear how the baseline fused with her vocals and the singing-along of the crowd. She was even gracious enough to tolerate a drunk youngin who managed to get on stage for a full 10 minutes and hold her by the shoulder, as if they were buddies. All the while I was wondering where the heck was the security?
Arguably the biggest surprise of the night was the on-stage reunion of one of the biggest groups in Kenya, Camp Mulla. Miss Karun, Taio Tripper, Shappa Man and K Cous took to the stage, and a trip down memory lane, in swag-ful fashion, rocking with musical charms such as ‘254low’, ‘Hold It Down’, ‘Fresh All Day’ and ‘Papeyo’. The pyrotechnics had kicked in, further complimenting the the energetic group that kept on saying how awesome they felt being back on stage and being able to perform. They wrapped up their set with another tremendous surprise, that they’d be launching ANOTHER studio album ‘very soon’. I’ll be looking out for that one.
Redsan knows how to make an entrance – ahead of him came four male dancers in red and black, dancing to his mega-hit ‘Shoulder Back’, which saw him step on stage in a swanky beige trench, black ripped jeans and a sleeveless shirt, with a blaring gold chain around his neck. The smile he constantly wore on his face openly showed how much he enjoys performing on stage, and unlike a plethora of reggae artistes, he kept his performance classy, keeping the vocal ladies, and even those who managed to get up on stage, at bay. There was a bit of a shortfall with the microphone he used, but the dancers and his energy and passion, were enough to keep his presentation afloat.
The moment The Kansoul got onto the stage, there was an evident change in gears. I must say they were the best performers of the night, even though their showcases were totally and completely R-rated. We wouldn’t expect anything less from the ‘Bablas’ Hitmakers who pride themselves as being ladies men and the utmost of bad boys.
Staying true to their image, six women wearing very skimpy attire, and the confidence of eagles on the hunt, took over the stage, gyrating and jiggling their way through what was well over a 40-minute performance, or maybe my clock was off. Mejja and Madtraxx really kicked it up a notch, as they sat on chairs and got lap dances from their vixens. Kid Kora was late to the party, though it was still great to see him reunite with the group half way through the performance. While Madtraxx got away with pulling a Bruno Mars 24K look, and Kid Kora took the best dressed male artist award, Mejja could have done a bit more. Where Mejja failed in fashion, he more than made up for in vocal and performance showcase – the sweat off his brow could attest.
The Kansoul went through their latest repertoire of club bangers, and another surprise guest artist appeared on stage: Nameless joined in on the fun to sing ‘Moto wa Kuotea Mbali’.
DJ Crème de la Crème took to the stage immediately after, for the second time that night after Redsan’s performance, to back up the headliner of the evening – Tekno. The 24 year old superstar took to the stage on the back of my favourite hit ‘Be’, resplendent in a white and silver jacket, ripped jeans and sunglasses, adorned with what looked like very expensive bling.
With fantastic and melodious music, you really don’t need much more effort to pull off a party for the eager crowd. Tekno worked the whole surface area of the stage they gave him, belting out ‘Go’, ‘Diana’, ‘Rara’, ‘Pana’ and ‘Yawa’ to extensive furore. As DJ Crème attempted to compliment the excitement of the songs with some editing adjustments, it wasn’t received quite so well by Tekno, who literally called the playback to a complete halt as there seemed to be an exchange of words between them of how the song needs to be played.
There was some tangible resolution, as the music was turned on again and Tekno performed surprisingly for less than an hour, despite the fact that thirty minutes in, he’d already begun to ask fans to let him finish his set.
Overall, musically speaking, it was a massive success for the organisers and for the fans.