The Nairobi Rock Music Festival – A Review by Yvonne Ndubi


Oh how I love festivals. Just the mention of that word makes me smile like a teenager in love. When I saw the Nairobi rock festival poster I was one happy soul. The line up looked so good.

It was too bad I missed the acoustic shows featuring 20 more days and Doveslimme; Rish(ASIA band), Refuge, Rash, Ferocious Dog supported by Dj Edygrim on the decks. Finally I get to see Ferocious Dog since I missed last year’s performance. I was there very early one would have thought I was to do soundcheck as well but instead I got there and headbanged to soundcheck.

The performances kicked off at 7:45pm with Rish supported by members from ASIA band. this performance was missed  by many and that’s a shame because it was one hell of a performance. I have watched ASIA previously like twice, this time performance was marinated with all awesome spices. We all know how awesome Rish’s vocals are this time her good vocals were combined by great guitar skills. The energy on that stage even words cannot describe what was happening –  Gachiri, Jessica, Jose and Rish you should just give me a call and explain  that guitar battle, where all that energy came from and how you made a guitar look like a small toy on that stage . George Atsula is one hell of a talented human being how he switches from the drums only other talented human beings can see it as a not such a big deal. We got to see Rish ‘s  songs  as well as  originals from ASIA and some covers which were beautifully done especially the mashups. This was a very handsome set ASIA should keep up the same energy and awesomeness on stage.

George Gachiri and Joseph Wangonya pair up on guitar supporting Rish performance


Next up on stage was Refuge, the only blues rock band in the country. As a friend points out this band is like bodies of 80 year olds trapped in teenagers.When they got on stage the first thing I noticed is their dress code man these humans know how to rock n roll. Their set was amazing it comprised of their original song and a number of covers, Teresa’s vocals are so dope my goodness, Patrick guitar skills are out of this world. Wow! Like who plays a guitar while it is placed at the back of the neck. Silas and Ben were monsters on that rhythm and bass guitar respectively. Ike the man on the keys was awesome not forgetting the amazing work by Gabe on the drums. This band killed it for a moment it felt like I was dreaming that I was in a concert in 80s. In this band each and every band is so talented my God at their age there are waay too good one would think they have been doing it for 20 years.

Refuge on set at Carnivore Simba Saloon


Rash was the last local band to perform, when they got on stage the first thing I noticed was a new bassist who I later on came to find out his name is Colbert. Colbert has played for Void of Belonging as well as Culture Horizon. Their set was really good Sam’s vocals keep on getting better and better every time they perform, Max was a beast on the guitar the best part was when he got off the stage to play the guitar next to the fans. Lets talk about Gakosh on the drums my reaction to that is weuhh he is just awesome. Yubu did a good job as well on the back up vocals and the rhythm guitar, the new member of the family slapped the bass so hard. It was a good set we need new stuff from you guys though.



Maxx plays lead in the foreground as Yubu follows through in the background

Then lastly we had the headlining act Ferocius Dog I was so excited for this one because of the flute and violin I was ready for their 17 songs performance. That set was well full of action everyone in this band was amazing, I kept on staring at the violin and flute players especially the flute guys and how he would switch from one guitar to the other. They got us dancing and jumping, you know a performance is good when Nimm and Kisilu comes up with an idea of a circle pi during a folk rock performance and it was so much fun. I wouldn’t mind watching Ferocious dog again.

Having said that I think it was quite an outstanding feat the way the show was organized. The free entry acoustic shows really allowed for intimacy and engagement with a new crowd while bringing freshness to the way gigs are organized. It’s brought new meaning to the word “Festival” which has been abused over the years but in this case the organizers were true to their word, giving us the best of rock music for three days straight. The organisation of the Nairobi Rock Music Festival wouldn’t have been possible however with the all round corporate sponsorship. Nairobi Rock Music Festival brought it’s A game and went all out with the promotion-doing promotional photography with all the bands and doing really professional and eye catching posters. I was not sure about the sound when I got there but Homeboyz really tried, it would have been better if sound check time allocated to the bands would have been longer than just few minutes. I think the Deejay set was also


It was really heartwarming to see that labels like Jameson, Safaricom Platinum and VISA that were ready to put their name behind rock music and we hope that with proper planning and dedication we can get to see more corporates come on board. Until next time, keep rocking!!!!

Major thanks to EMINENT MEDIA for capturing the mood and aesthetic of the show with all these awesome photos. You can view more of them HERE 🙂

Review by Yvonne Ndubi





17 thoughts on “The Nairobi Rock Music Festival – A Review by Yvonne Ndubi

  1. The show felt like that jon bon jovi concert in the tunnel in the music clip my life….totally nailed it!!long live rock 254

  2. Yes it did. We’re quite surprised by the number of bands paying homage to that era of rock and roll in our version of back to the future-through the past.

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