SUPER ROCK – Marabou Lounge Highway Mall

Attendance – 99
Performing Bands:    Koinange Street Avengers
                                    Moment of Silence
                                    Void of Belonging

It’s that time of the month again. That part cycle when your pockets are devoid of money to haemorrhage. And so when it’s in the wind that some benevolent events planning company is organising for a free concert and that four bands are scheduled to perform you take chance by the balls and get ready to go. There’s no getting high tonight because the club’s selling beers at 250 per 500 ml bottle and it’s a Sunday. So you can forget about dashing to the ‘local’ at Baricho road for poison that’d steel your veins. Unless you’re feeling disposed to walk all the way to Nairobi West for cheap liquor. So you’re not going beyond one brown bottle. The waitress is intrigued by our sort of crowd. She asks, “Nyinyi mnapenda rock? Na sasa mnadance aje”(You are fans of rock music; how do you dance to it then?) and we tell her she will know in due course.
The Venue
There is a stage for the bands to perform. There’s acres of space and the club is decked with cosy and fancy looking furniture. The T.V screens show broadcasts of the last live English premier league game and this serves to occupy us as we wait for things to take off. Ronjey the rocktopus is on the decks.
I see a few familiar faces in attendance including Mortal Soulfront man Leon Malu and a few members of Parking Lot Grass.
So the gig is scheduled to begin at 7pm at least on paper. But it being Sunday (I can’t come up with anything better to justify the lateness) the tarrying takes close to four hours. And it is well-nigh to midnight before even the sound check is done. The first guys on the podium dispense with this part of proceedings pretty quickly by any standards before they start to perform. Being the first time seeing Koinange Street Avenger’s live I didn’t know what to expect. And they kick off with a familiar tune; a song called ‘I don’t know’. The tune is pretty catchy with the guitar work playing to a melody that bears resemblance to work done by the virtual band the Gorillas. And the crowd is enjoying it. My friend whom I managed to drag to the event on short notice though isn’t as impressed. He’s waiting for that frenzied moment when the performer is going to play a riff that the crowd will ride on towards hysterical slam dancing. And I remind him this isn’t any of that heavy metal stuff that’s characterised by moshing and that will come through sooner or later when the rest of the bands will perform. The next piece they play is unfamiliar but manages to elicit a far better energetic response from the crowd. And for the final piece “Chizi” the night’s M.C and Last Year’s Tragedy frontman joins the pair. People enjoy this final track even more. The crowd gets involved in the performance with some of them being handed the mic.

Next on stage is Moment of Silence. And for most of the crowd this is the moment they’ve been waiting for. The moment the guitars are revved up the whole floor is taken off their feet. Moment of silence tore the crowd apart. People shouted themselves hoarse myself included. This band isn’t as musically astute as the others that I’ve come across but you don’t have to be a singer to please the crowd as this occasion proved.

The sound was very grainy but that didn’t seem to faze anyone until void of belonging came on stage. This was meant to be my crowning moment of the night but things just went downhill very fast. To begin with sound check took close to quarter of an hour and some people started considering leaving. It seemed Moment of Silence too contributed to the sense of languor amongst the audience. Everyone seemed overworked and when V.O.B came to perform they didn’t get the desired response which is a shame because they came well prepared. The deterioration of enthusiasm coupled with the failure of the sound system led to the band leaving early. The equipment was quickly dismantled and this heralded the event’s transition from a rock concert to a trance/house/EDM one.

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