So was the list of performers, pooling beginner Kaka on the same stage as hitmakers Lucius Banda, Nkasa, Lulu, Fikisa and Zambia’s Orga Family.
The show had every ingredient of a perfect sundowner, but ended up being a not-so-pleasant mix of the good and the badâ€”thanks to a late start at 3pm, unprepared artists and electricity blackouts which left a bass speaker blown.
This is how the performers stood toÂ be counted.
The newcomer from Balaka exhilarated fans with a comic mimic of Mlaka Maliro, Phungu Joseph Nkasa, Lucius Banda and Black Missionaries, who were present, as he did a rendition of the late Paul Chaphuka’s reggae hit Amayi Maria.
The ‘stolen’ track earned him more claps, attention and applause than his own Ndine Bwana, but the equipment of Zembani Band sounded to have outlived its span.
The ethnocentric Akamwire trio is doubtlessly a revolution on the local scene. Fikisa, an album bringing urbanised fusion of the Yao’s spiritual dance kungwe, has taken over all spaces where music is a staple.
However, they took about 40 minutes of silence and soundcheck just to miserably fail to marry their three throbbing drums with pre-recorded instrumentals. The mismatch left many at standstill as the dancers wriggled their waists, proving not all well-received records beget stunning performers.
The Tigwirane Manja top-seller is a major beneficiary of a month of touring with Soldier. He blended better with Zembani Band than he did with his defunct group, Zosayinasayina.
However, concert-goers will stop being mere listeners of his proverb-packed songs the day he realises when to unchain himself from the microphone pole and learn dancing, commanding the whole stage and interacting with the audience.
Jumping on stage in a shabbyÂ black suit and red shirt, Nkasa looked too disoriented or poorly executive for the jovial audience.
Old timers beware. The R&B crooner is wedging his way to becoming the best performer on the scene and he spectacularly prevailed where Nkasa miserably failed.
Luluâ€™s stage movement, command of the voice, facial expression, eye contact and sound engineering pleasantly hinted at what years of studio and stage work can do to a dedicated youngster.
Thumbs up, but tell organisers to hire better the equipmentâ€¦
Debuting at the venue, the Zambian pair of Orga Kent and Rex One jumped on stage at 6pm and immediately received a hands-up ovation upon chanting their trademarksâ€”black is beautiful, love Orga Family and live longerâ€¦blah blah, blah.
But there was nothing international in the duo’s act, comprising Kokakola, Ball Pen and Tchove Tchove which are enjoying airplay among Malawians. Their vocals and instruments nosily drifted in different ways. They could have gone away with it if it were not for low power supply from the generator and the expiry dates of the sound system. They were just any other group, not the top hitmakers they have become in both Malawi and Zambia.
The same old song. He came on stage around 10pm arguably to give his lieutenants a chance and extended what was supposed to be an afternoon show to close to midnight.Â His offering came no near the five-star performance he gave at Club XL two weeks ago, but he had a few thumbs up for hisÂ politicalâ€”or active citizenshipâ€”anthems, Mabala and Tikamalira.
With the nation still mourning president Bingu wa Mutharika, he sent a precarious pun when he said this is a time believers must rejoice because somebody had to die for people to be free. This was as innocent in its Easter sense, but sounded like a precarious pun when he revealed he is no fan of 10-days mourning for public figures because their death is a celebration what they did for the nation. His oldies, including Mutharika’s campaign hit Yellow, stirred excitement which new ones did not.