Hennessy Artistry 2017 Review
But while life can be stressful, shows like Hennessy Artistry makes us all forget that for a while.
In terms of the music, this was a great spectacle. Running across the stage at the annual Hennessy Artistry were a carefully curated set of musicians, hype-men, DJs, pyrotechnics, and a classic Mercedes Benz 200 which Falzrode on to the stage, GospelOnDeBeatzleading his Alternate Sound band, with guitars, a piano and Kaffy dancing to Tiwa Savage’s music.
At the front of it all, leading the night with their music, were five Nigerian stars who have climbed above the pile of pop music, to become luminaries of the art. They were selected for their artistry; the famed ability to bend sound, infuse with words, play with cadence, time and space to make hit records. That’s why Olamide, Timaya, Ycee, Tiwa Savage and Falz were selected. Five leaders of their art. Five stars to rule the night.
All pop culture heroes, these stars all had the lyrical dexterity and personalities to dominate this gathering in Lagos. It had been a torrid week. The enslavement of Nigerians seeking a better life on the shores of Italy via Libya has been exposed. Everyone felt the outrage, and on social media, tears, anger and curses rained on everyone and all the factors involved.
But while life can be a bitch, shows like Hennessy Artistry makes us all forget that for a while. It’s a difficult project to pull off. In part, it is a showcase and cultural exchange program between dominant genres. Hip-hop and Pop come together in many ways, but for this concert, they have to hit the right balance and tone.
It opened with a performance by Mayorkun, and then Small Doctor. But Patoranking properly brought things kicking with a masterful performance of his records, you could feel your resolve to succeed come alive and when he screams ‘Nobody wey no fit to make am’, and reflect on your life’s journey with “Alubarika, from Lagos down to America.” Renowned photographer, Kelechi Amadi enjoyed that performance. Off stage, he was putting on a personal performance of his own, with slick dance moves, and a wide smile decorated by silver beards. His happiness was such a beauty to behold.
Dancers hit the stage at every point, with Ycee going through the motions of ‘Juice’, and picking up a couple of people singing along to his 2017 smash hit. Tiwa Savagedanced the night away in a silver dress, backed by the veteran Kaffy. So inspired was her performance that she tried to perform a split, but ended up halfway and discovered that this life is not that deep (or flexible). She abandoned it and moved into the crowd, where everyone tried to touch the hem of her garment.
Falz rode a Mercedes 200 on to the stage, in a visual representation of ‘Soft work’. (“We came through in a Mercedes, Mama look at how we made it.”) He enjoyed a fine harmony between him and his hypeman Shody. The duo perform like they share a brain. One that is effective in its delivery. Timaya carried us through every available hit song in his arsenal. Although the energy was off, his insistence to turn things around caught up with the fans, who supplied what he was lacking with verve.
And finally, the moment everyone was anticipating, had arrived. Olamide, the voice of the streets, the king of the hood, and the epitome of what levels of success hard work can carry you to, showed up with his brother DJ Enimoney. But all he did was provide us all with a manual on how not to headline a concert.
His energy was non-existent. He walked on stage like he would rather not be there. And then he circled through his hits without verve. The fans tried to help him out. But some of them got called the abusive word ‘smellos’, while he continued to struggle. When ‘Bobo’ was cued in, he stopped it, gave a little speech, and DJ Enimoney encountered problems with getting it back on.
And just when everyone wanted him to perform ‘Wo’, he obliged. But as the beat was cued, and the crowd screamed, he killed it all. Olamide ordered the DJ to turn off the music, and walked off stage, leaving people shocked and surprised. There was a sour feeling in our stomach. The murmurs grew loud, as people looked at each other for an explanation and justification for his poor set. As one betrayed fan walked past me, he explained to a friend with sadness in his voice: “That guy just broke my heart.
Sorry bro. It was a great show regardless, which continued Hennessy’s fine support and curation of art in Nigeria.