Dbanj’s Koko Concert of 2012 revisited - He’s still as callous now as he was then.
Ah! Gah! I need to exorcise some demons. Bear with me. I don't like to do this. The blog is supposed to be a happy place, a place of laughter, joy and other such gleeful things. However there is a villain. Yes, there is a dastardly charlatan that has forced me to deviate from my usually lilting tone and unserious rambling manner. As these are serious allegations it is most important to isolate the culprit. Now, the culprit can't be the Koko Concert, as the Koko concert did not plan itself. Is the culprit the planner of the event (and that event plan was literally the dog's bollocks. Really you should be out of a job permanently. I thought business men were intellectuals. I cannot understand how a piece of shit could go so far. Surely at some point you should all have laughed and said, "That plan was so bad it was fun, now let's come up with a real plan." or is it the Sponsor, Guarantee Trust Bank, why you allowed your name to be tied to such a disaster is beyond me. Maybe that's the message you want to give your clients. Bank with us we're so dysfunctional, disorganized, and lengthy that every dealing with us can only ever be described as a misadventure.
The event was brought to you all by DKM media. Are you not infinitely grateful?
I'll be the first to tell you that DKM media does not have a website. Are you surprised? I'm not! In fact if they did have one they'll definitely have taken it down after last night. I'm sure that the owners are wincing as I write this for the vitriol laden daggers I'm sending to them through my skull are certain to fill them with unease.
Let's start with the location. Koko Concert was held at Eko Atlantic, a place that is mostly sand and stone. Well, more sand than stone. The organisers and sponsors and caterers and everybody involved in the planning of it thought it would be really cool to have a really really really really long walkway from the gate to the actual arena. Sorry, it wasn't a walkway, it was a stony sandway! And that walk was a 20-45 minute one. I felt like an Isrealite looking for the promised land. Even though my situation was very sorry indeed, I felt sorrier for those poor bastards that had come early (the stipulated time was 7, the concert really started closer to 12) and parked on sand. Do you know what happens when cars park on sand? They get stuck. Even if they didn't get stuck they knew that leaving would be no picnic, and leaving was no picnic. Upon deciding to leave they were stuck in standstill traffic for only God knows how long! I was grateful that Papa Afam had decided that he would make good use of the police. We parked inside the police station across the road from the gate of Eko Atlantic.
We got to the gates only to discover that even though the concert was already full and closely approaching a crowd control disaster, there were still tickets being sold. Once we were stood in VIP - there were no seats to be found, I thought to myself, "If something were to happen. How many of us would die as the crowd pushes and tramples in a bid for the exit?" See GTB this is what you rubber stamped! Does it not seem fishy now? You don't think so?
During the concert my tweeps informed me that there was a live stream broadcasted on the internet. I felt really sorry for myself then because if I had known, I would not have bothered. Very few things in life are worth that sort of bother.
If you paid N1,000,000 (£4000) for a table then your troubles are far worse than mine. You see, I feel bad and a little daft that Papa Afam paid N160,000 for 6 of my cousins, me, and himself, to have a horrible time, so I can only imagine how you must feel.
It is unfortunate that a bank that pays so much attention to its corporate image made such an error. Did they just lend their name and money without checking what it was they were paying for? Eko Hotel for all its faults and parking issues always has an ambulance outside. For this event there was no ambulance and even if there had been an ambulance, it probably wouldn't have been able to leave.
Dbanj, you're a disrespectful callous vandal. What kind of idiot asks the people who paid for regular tickets to apologize to the VVIPs? Is it not insanity? They had every right to be there. They trekked and suffered through a multitude of obstacles to see him and he disregarded them completely. But more on that later.
I, Afam am no longer a Johnny Just Come (JJC) to these West African armpit shores. Surely you've heard that Nigeria occupies a significant part of the armpit of Africa, I think this is catchier and more true than its moniker as the Heart of Africa because countries and continents don't have hearts. Even if they did it is impossible to measure which heart is the heartiest of the lot. Can you say that a Ghanaian heart is better than a Nigerian one? As I am no longer a Johnny Just Come, I did not feel the ants in my pants that I used to feel whenever I was late to an event. I left my house at 11pm and got within striking distance of the concert in 30 minutes.
I was stood at the most precarious place for not 2 yards from me were some young lads partaking of hashish. I was rather surprised as I had never seen anyone partake of hashish so openly and in such a crowded venue. People were also guzzling spirits by the bottle. I couldn't blame them. Not everyone is me. Not everyone is capable of reaching inner peace and tranquility with gentle long deep breaths. It's not your fault. I judge not.
There were comedians on stage but truth be told I did not brave the man made desert that is Eko Atlantic for them. I came for Wizkid (he didn't perform though), the current lord of all Vandals Dbanj, DRB, Ajebutter, the extremely elusive Burna boy, Tinie Tempah and Big Sean.
The first musician on stage was flowsick. I could not believe that this was the compensation for my efforts. It was like Christmas in 2006, when Papa Afam wrote in my Christmas card, "Sorry, Santa couldn't deliver this year. He was stuck in the war in Afghanistan." It was so disappointing I could not believe it was happening to me. Flowsick wanted to give it to us low key, but with a voice like the one he displayed on stage it is a wonder how he isn't anything but low key. I would suggest that the performance was bad enough to condemn him to irrelevance but I'd probably be wrong.
Next was DRB. The crowd wasn't theirs at all. But they tried. They powered through with their incredible work ethic. It was not their fault that the crowd was moody, foul tempered and lackluster. They were the victims here. I enjoyed their set. You see, back when I was a young un, I went to school in Gbagada and so did Toyin. It's kind of funny no? You have to allow the odd wise crack. Dry jokes are the best jokes.
Then came Ajebutter. The first song he did was Omo pastor with the help of Boj. It was brilliant. For the first time that night the crowd came alive. Hands were waving, people were screaming and I am pleased to say that I was among them. I need a Pastors daughter in my life. I will put this in my prayers for 2013. Senrenre was less popular and I was shocked by this because I am never not in the mood to hear it.
You know that I don't know the name of every Nigerian performer right? The fellow that followed Ajebutter was one of the ones that I didn't know. He performed a song about booties bouncing. Let that booty bounce or something like that. He even had a semi skilled dancer accompany him on stage. For all the provocative dancing, it was frightfully dull. So dull that I found myself thinking of my January exams. Do you know that in 1952 China was perhaps less industrialized than India? Thank me later.
It was at this juncture that I decided that if I didn't know them, then I wouldn't blog about them. It's only fair isn't it?
My favourite Mammy Water was the next performer that I knew. It was the one, the only, Seyi Shay. Tonight Seyi chose to wear a bright red sequined mini dress that barely covered her crotch. I liked this a lot. Her legs looked long. I was a little green with envy that I wasn't closer to the stage. The view there must have been awesome. She was pretty good. As far as singing goes she was easily the best of the night. I enjoyed it.
Iyanya of Kukere came on next. Do you know that Iyanya's car plate is IYANYA? During his performances I started to formulate the theory that Nigerian musicians live aren't musicians at all but hypemen of their own music. When the backing track is as loud as the microphone and all you're really doing is shouting EH!! and YEAH!! are you not a hype man? Kukere is a brilliant song so in spite of the fact that he couldn't really hold a tune or sing on key or not sound flat I really enjoyed his performance. This is a fine example of expectations management. If you have extremely negative expectations, you can only ever be pleasantly surprised.
Iyanya also performed your waist. As some of you do not know the song I shall transcribe the lyrics I remember.
Man (Iyanya): "Your waist, your waist, all I want is your waist"
Girl: "My waist, my waist, all you want is my waist. You want my waist my waist. You want my freaking (it could be freaky) waist boy"
I think it's a little poetic. However I have to say that they waisted a brilliant dancer. She got no credit for her extraordinarily paced gyrations. I believe that she could be the answer to the energy crisis in Nigeria.
See what I did there? I'm sitting on my couch thinking, "Afam! you're such a genius!" You don't agree? Well, my opinion is the only opinion that counts. I kid. Also I missed Tosan Mac Wilshire's dancing here. He gives new meaning to the phrase, "your waist."
After him came Burna Boy. Burna boy has been something of an enigma this christmas. Before the Koko concert he was scheduled to do two other concerts (the DRB concert and the Chris Brown concert) but he was a no show. In my opinion this calls his work ethic into question. It's like missing work without calling in sick. He performed his song, Like to party.
Because I'm a sort of aspiring writer, I consider myself a writer and like most writers I believe that the climax should only come a few pages from the end and not one second before. So, I am very uncomfortable telling you that Burna boy, who only performed one song was the HIGHLIGHT of the night. For 5 minutes the crowd forgot about all their troubles (and their troubles were rather significant) and enjoyed the damned concert. Hands were waving, guys and girls were screaming, a girl next to me was grinding on a guy's head. Who does that?! I guess that's how much people liked Burnaboy. They liked him enough to ignore all that is good and natural in the world.
After him came Dami Krane. Following Burna boy can't have been the easiest task in the world, but on the other hand the crowd was more alive than it had been in hours. Dami Krane put us all back to sleep. Like a vampire he sapped the people of their zest for life. I cannot tell you what he performed. I can only tell you that I received negative utility from watching it. This my dear friends and enemies, for enemies are just as dear to me as friends, is negative satisfaction. You could compare it to walking naked through a field of stinging nettles or sleeping in a bed full of ants. I was delighted to see the back of him.
Next came Ice Prince, and all he did was hype himself. There existed no great distinction between him and Dami Krane. It might be better to sleep, than to see him live.
It is rather unfortunate that Tinie Tempah followed him because the crowd was even more hostile than it had been at the beginning. If not for the usurper Burna boy, Tinie would have been the night's champion. I enjoyed his set as much or even more than Burna boy's but the crowd was more alive during Burna boy's so as much as it pains me, I cannot award him the title of Champion (or Tampon... the combination of Champion and Tinie Tempah is undoubtedly a tampon). Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu (Tinie Tempah) did well. I sang Written in the Stars, even when I knew that I could not possibly sing that ridiculously high note in the chorus, I danced violently and spastically to Miami to Ibitha (he called it Miami to Lagos for the purposes of the night) even though the steps I was standing on were more than a little bit shaky and unstable. I would have whipped off my t-shirt and twirled it like a baton during pass out but I wasn't wearing a t-shirt and Papa Afam was in attendance. I cannot allow my chief employer to see me acting anything but appropriately. Underneath his gaze I must be the paragon of uprightness and good behaviour.
After Tinie came Pusha T. During Pusha T's performance I sat down and fell asleep. I kid you not. I even tweeted it here:
I don't think I need to say anything more about that. Don't judge me too harshly. It was 3am and I was wiped out.
Big Sean followed him. When I heard his name, my energies returned to me in full force. I jumped out of my seat and paid attention. He's such a nice fellow. He was unbelievably happy to be on stage even though he had just come off a 20 hour flight with his mother during which his luggage had been misplaced. He came on to stage tired and Jet Lagged and performed with so much energy that I felt sorry for him. On a different day, in a different place I would have been just as energetic as he but it was approaching 4am and I was tired. He wasn't discouraged though. His performances of Dance (A$$) and My Last were stellar.
After Big Sean came the King of all Villainy, the Vandal, the Charlatan, the Inconsiderate, the Ridiculous Kokomaster, Dbanj or Skibanj as his Jamaican friends call him. He arrived on stage with a velvet cape and an absurd crown. He started his set by calling out Pusha T, Big Sean and Idris Elba and proceeded to make them his hype men. I was very impressed by this. After this he made it quite clear that he was only really there for the VVIPs (Very Very important people). It has surely occurred to you that this word, this abbreviation, is infinitely expandable. I look forward to meeting the first VVVIP. I have no doubt that the individual is Nigerian. By altering the abbreviation we've made it clear that we Nigerians are plagued by an Importance complex. It is no longer okay to be very important. We must all strive to be very very important. Because the person we had come to see didn't want to see us and it was 5am, we went home after he did a couple of songs. His performances weren't too great either.
Last but not the least is Idris Elba. Idris was advertised as the host of the concert but Idris my dear fellows, Idris didn't host anything. He came on stage a few times during the night, said a few words, led a few cheers and turned to the bottle, hard.
All in all, I quite enjoyed myself. I didn't have the sort of good time I thought I would have, but I had a good time all the same. Just like I had a brilliant time at Likwid last night even though all I did there was get pushed around in the queue. However, I am incredibly grateful because I didn't get pushed in the open sewer, I wasn't threatened with a taser, and I didn't see that unfortunate man being beaten to a pulp, I didn't see any shots being fired. All of this adds up to a brilliant Lagosian night. I also got home at 2.30 in the morning and that my friends is a win and a half.
I wrote this in 2012, when I had a blog called The Ramblings of a Madman. I’m currently writing a piece about Dbanj. Earlier this month, a girl called Seyitan alleged that she’d been raped by Dbanj. I always believe women who make claims like this, but I acknowledge that in Nigeria, these claims are not enough to change public opinion about a rapist, especially when that rapist is a man. Dbanj to his credit or lack there of, responded to those claims like a guilty man clutching at straws. He got the police to detain her for a day, he took control of her social media media and once she had been released from police custody he kidnapped her and held her for a day.
I lent a bit of my voice to the protest against his actions. I know that this isn’t significant, but to stay silent in the face of injustice is to endorse it. My next piece will be about Dbanj and why I can no longer count myself to be among his legion of fans. To me, there was a dream called Dbanj. I loved that dream. Recent events have proven that the man I thought he was, was a piece of fiction I created. Now that he has revealed himself to me, I can no longer be a part of his journey. I can no longer support his efforts musical or otherwise, because to do so, will be to empower him to wreak the same havoc he’s wreaked on Seyitan on someone else
When I wrote this piece, I was half mad with rage, because the stress my family went through to see him hurt. I took it personally. 8 years later, his callousness, his utter lack of human consideration, and his sheer dedication to playing the fool at any given opportunity, still ring true.